Sales tax increase fails during second reading

Efforts to adopt a one-half percent increase to the city sales tax failed during a second reading at the June 20 city council meeting.

Councilman Jeff Guard cast the only vote in favor of ordinance 1170.

“We’ve got a pretty bare bones budget as it is this year,” Guard said. “We blew a $340,000 hole in it when we voted down the four-cent a gallon motor fuel tax and … lowering the tax cap, so I’m just trying to replace dollars, so we can at least keep our noses barely above water.”

Other councilmembers spoke against the sales tax increase, stating that there needs to be greater public support.

“I also agree that we need to find a way to generate revenue for the city; however, I think there needs to be more of a public process,” councilmember Anne Schaefer said. “This feels a little knee-jerk to me. So, it’s not that I don’t agree with the taxes … I just think we need to be considerate and deliberate in how we move forward.”

Ordinance 1162, removing the expired temporary prohibition against marijuana establishments within the city limits, was unanimously approved.

According to a conditional use stated within the ordinance, a buffer zone of 1,000 feet will be required between any marijuana establishment and building primarily being used as a public or private elementary or secondary education facility.

The next city council meeting will be on July 18.

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Emily Mesner is a staff reporter and photographer for The Cordova Times. Reach her at emesner@thecordovatimes.com. Emily graduated from Central Michigan University, earning a degree in photojournalism with a cultural competency certificate. She first visited Alaska in 2016, working as a media intern for the National Park Service in Kotzebue and Denali National Park and Preserve, and has been coming back ever since. To see more photos, follow @thecordovatimes and @emilymesnerphoto on Instagram.