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Front Page January 23, 2018  RSS feed

Motel tax questions again roil Buffalo Council meeting

By Mac Shadix


The citizens attending the Monday January 22 Buffalo City Council meeting listen to a presentation about the effects of ISO ratings. Photo by Mac Shadix The citizens attending the Monday January 22 Buffalo City Council meeting listen to a presentation about the effects of ISO ratings. Photo by Mac Shadix About fifteen people, one of the largest crowds to be seen at a recent Buffalo City Council meeting was on hand early. The 5:30 Work Session saw a presentation of the benefits of good ISO ratings. This issue was last before the public during the campaign by County Judge Byron Ryder and Commissioner David Ferguson to create ESD #4. The tax raise entailed in the creation of the ESD was then touted to cover the improvement of the local fire departments to lower the ISO ratings and to save money for homeowners and businesses.

ßIn reality, all of the funds have been used for ambulance service and no funds have reached the VFDs from the ESD. Voluntary donations to the fire departments also dried up since people were promised that their tax increase would take care of the fire departments.

After the ISO presentation, Buffalo Fire Chief Shaine Reeder was asked to prepare a written proposal for the Buffalo City council.

Most of those present at the meeting were not there to hear of the benefits of a good ISO rating however. When the regular meeting began at six pm former city attorney Gayle Ray addressed the council about the funding for the new City Hall/Convention Center. Ray complained that she could not be shown in the budget how local bank funding would be paid. She added that the use of Motel tax money had not proceeded through the committee that had been created to deal with requests for those funds. She pointed out that the city was obligated to follow it’s own processes a much as anyone else.

“I just want some answers.” Ray said.

Several of those citizens who create and manage the events that are funded by the Motel Tax funds had been told that because of the funding of the new building there would be far fewer or no funds available. Mayor Royce Dawkins calmed them before protests began by announcing that he had reviewed and revised the budget so that their projects could be funded in full. The Buffalo Youth Organization will receive $26,650 and the Tri-County Horseshoe Association will get $3,700. Whether this money would come from city funds or Motel Tax funds was not made clear at this time.


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