Garden City Town Council talks 1-cent sales tax, 2020 Census

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Cullman County Commissioner Garry Marchman (standing) visited the Garden City Town Council at its February meeting Monday evening. (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)

GARDEN CITY, Ala. – The Garden City Town Council welcomed Cullman County Commissioner Garry Marchman to its February meeting Monday evening. Marchman was in attendance to provide information about the proposed 1-cent sales tax that will be on the March 3 ballot.

“Anytime you talk about taxes, people are going to be hesitant about looking at reason behind it,” he said. “Let me back up before I talk about the 1 cent. We (the County Commission) had originally agreed to a half-cent, and I made a mistake on that tax and I’ll tell you why I made a mistake, because the plan that was presented to me after we approved the half-cent tax had changed, so when it was changed, it was a different deal, so when that changed I said, ‘No, I’m not going to support that,’ so I went back and asked the commission to rescind it and we did, and that was my downfall. I was a little hasty when I made the decision so I apologize for that, because any time you enact any kind of tax, I think the people should enact those.”

He continued, “Now, when we did that, the (county) board of education came back to us and asked, ‘Would you allow it to be put on the March ballot for the people to vote on?’ and I said, ‘One-hundred percent, the people need to make that decision.’ So, we made a resolution, we created a resolution to put it on the March 3 ballot.

“Now, the tax, everyone knows that when you’re in this business, you never have enough money. Here’s my stand on the tax: I am an advocate of education; I understand it. I know we need the best education system we can have, and the county needs, in the worst way, a really strong education because we’re competing in a world today where that means so much that our kids know the things that they need to know. I looked at the 1-cent tax and I said, ‘You know, I think they’re trying to sell this 1-cent and that’s a good thing and I understand that totally, but one thing that I would like to see, and a lot of people have asked me about, is that they’re telling us that they’re going to use the money for this, but there’s not a plan for it, and I’m a little bit concerned that we haven’t used a good strategy when putting this in place. It’s a touchy subject.”

Marchman closed, “We can, as a community, make our education system better, but it’s going to take a lot of long-term good management in place. What I mean by that is we have a lot of assets in the system; we have so many resources that we can tap outside of normal money that comes in off revenue because of grants and things like that are available for education. You really need to stay on top of it, you really do.”

In other business, the council voted to apply for a grant from Cullman-Jefferson Counties Gas District in order to purchase playground equipment for Garden City Park located along U.S.  Highway 31 across from the town hall. Garden City is eligible to obtain $303.90. The council voted to purchase a leg press trainer for the price of $795; the Town will pay the difference.

The council passed a resolution in support of the upcoming 2020 Census and announced a “Census Fun Day” at the park March 14, 2020 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; free hot dogs and drinks will be served. The event will promote the 2020 Census and encourage residents to come out and be part of Census as well. The council said vendors are welcome to set up and offer their wares free of charge.

The Garden City Town Council meets the third Monday of each month. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be March 16, 2020 at 6 p.m. at Garden City Town Hall.

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Maggie Darnell

maggie@cullmantribune.com