By Nathan Prewett
For the Tribune
CENTER POINT – On Thursday night the Center Point City Council met and voted against a two-cent increase in sales tax. The increased was proposed and discussed at the last meeting. A public hearing preceded pre-council and regular meeting in which the increase and crime in the city were discussed.
At the last meeting Council President Roger Barlow said that the two-cent increase would generate approximately $ 1 million in additional revenue, which could be spent on various community projects.
Some residents, including several of the council members, voiced their opposition to the increase. Councilman James Howell said that while he liked the idea, he wanted to wait until the Department of Justice finished its study on possible ways to deter crime in Center Point.
Howell complimented the public on their opinions made at the meeting.
“I will take into consideration the ideas that you’ve expounded on here tonight, because I think there are some great ideas,” he said. “We want to work with the citizens of Center Point.”
Councilman Bobby Scott said that while a tax increase might be necessary in the future, it’s not needed by the city now.
“Eventually we probably would need to pass a sales tax,” he said. “I don’t think it would be conducive for us right now. I don’t think we have a need for the money to pass it right now. I can’t say that in the future we won’t have a need for it.”
The need for a police department was brought up. Scott said that a department may take two to three years to start the process and that much research would be needed. Barlow said that he would rather the study by the Department of Justice be completed to see if its recommendations includes beginning a police department. The study may take up to a year and a half.
Later the council voted on the sales tax ordinance with three against it and two for it, effectively defeating the resolution.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to consider a $5,000 appropriation for students at Center Point High to take part in a national information technology competition in Kentucky.
Rick Shirley, a teacher from the high school stood and spoke to the council about the competition. He mentioned two Center Point High School students who won medals at the SkillsUSA in April. Jasmine Robinson, a junior, won the gold medal for internetworking and Shaunbria Grissom won the bronze medal for information technology.
The two, along with a sophomore from the school, will represent Center Point High School in the national SkillsUSA conference and competition in Louisville, KY. Shirley asked for funds to help them get to the competition to train before participation.
The council then discussed a reading of a demolition ordinance for derelict houses in Center Point. Barlow expressed some confusion over a part of the ordinance that would give citizens 45 days to repair their homes or file for appeal for an extension of time for repairs.
He noted that further in the ordinance it says that people given notices have “no less than 50 days” to comply before the council holds a public hearing on the building, saying that there appears to a window between 45 days and 50 days that is too small for the council to meet.
He recommended that Mayor Thomas Henderson consult with legal counsels on the ordinance to clarify it. He also said that he would like to have it on the next agenda to vote for approval.
During his comments Henderson said that the stadium at E.B. Erwin High School is being demolished to be turned into a baseball and softball field for the middle school and the high school to use.
Councilman Terry Leesburg reported that Movies in the Park will begin on June 16th and will run through July at Reed Harvey Park. The first film will be “Finding Dory.”
Councilwoman Linda Kennemur reported that the next public safety meeting will not take place with it falling on the Fourth of July. There will be no meeting in August due to National Night Out. She hopes to resume meetings on Sept. 5th.
The next meeting will take place on June 22 with pre-council at 6:45 p.m. followed by regular meeting at 7 p.m.