The Pulaski County Council still hasn’t made any decisions about reconfiguring its local income taxes, but members did agree last week to keep thinking about some options. President Jay Sullivan reminded the rest of the council that the county will have to come up with additional revenue, since a special local income tax is scheduled to expire at the end of 2020.
Back in October, the council narrowly rejected a proposal that would have lowered the county’s income tax rate slightly, while allowing property taxes to increase on non-homestead property. A provision that would have raised the “levy freeze” portion of the local income tax – even though the overall rate would have gone down – was an area of concern. Council members also wanted to explore other options that would achieve similar results.
Sullivan added that financing for a potential courthouse renovation project will also have to be factored in. Council Member Ken Boswell felt that while it’s okay for members to research the options on their own, they need to be discussed with the entire council. “I think we can do a better job if we work together than we can working as individuals,” Boswell said.
Council Member Kathi Thompson noted that the county already has a report from Peters Municipal Consultants that cost the county almost $40,000. Thompson wanted to amend the minutes from the October 21 special meeting when the previous proposal was rejected. She proposed some new language that she felt more accurately described the part of the meeting when other options were discussed.
“They would more appropriately read that, ‘A Pulaski County vendor, Darren Bates of Data Pit Stop, who works with 62 other counties in moving data from one software system to another, who had shared that with at least two council members and the auditor, perhaps three or four, and at some point, he was invited to attend a council meeting, where he, using a county computer, was allowed to upend the conversation taking place with a true financial consultant, one who was paid tens of thousands of dollars by this county, in order to sabotage the tax discussion,'” Thompson said.
Thompson’s proposed amendment to the minutes ended in a three-to-three tie. Council members went on to approve minutes from three other recent meetings. They plan to revisit the October 21 minutes in January.