WILLIAMSON – At a special meeting of the Williamson City Council held Thursday evening, council approved a third and final reading of ordinance amendments to raise business licenses, business and occupation taxes and to change trash collection billing from quarterly to monthly.
The first ordinance amendment to be approved by council concerned business licenses. Williamson Mayor, Robert Carlton opened the discussion stating, “The first item is city fees approval of business license ordinance amendment which raises license fees to a minimum of $50. This will be the third reading on it so we would take a vote on it to approve the ordinance or not.” Councilman Matthew Newsome moved to approve the ordinance. The move was seconded and was approved by council.
The next item approved was the business and occupation tax ordinance amendment. Carlton explained the ordinance amendment. “This one raises B and O taxes by 25 percent across the board. That is the third and final reading of that ordinance as well. Do we have a motion to approve the ordinance amendment?” Newsome again moved to approve the ordinance. Councilman York Smith seconded the motion and the ordinance amendment was approved.
Following the motion to raise business and occupation taxes, council approved the amendment to the Sanitation ordinance to allow trash collection to be billed monthly. Before approval Councilman Smith asked if customers could still pay quarterly if they were inclined to do so. Carlton responded, “Oh sure. You can pay it up for a year if you want.” Councilwoman Sherri Hairston-Brown questioned if senior citizens would still receive a discount on trash collection fees. City Clerk, Larry Brown, explained that the ordinance and associated discounts would remain the same.
Council also approved a second reading of another amendment to the sanitation ordinance allowing trash collection bills to be increased by $4 monthly. Carlton opened the discussion stating, “Next is the reading of the sanitation ordinance which provides for the increase by four dollars a month of the garbage bills. This is the second reading of that. Next Thursday, it can be brought up for final vote and third reading.”
Council also discussed a recent decision to amend an ordinance allowing for parking violation fines to be increased. Williamson Police Chief Barry Blair discussed the recent council decision stating, “Mayor, in a previous meeting you had voted to raise the violations five dollars.” Blair then provided the mayor and council with a copy of a list of different parking violations included in the city ordinance. “As you can see, there are multiple violations on a parking citation. We had to go back and change those and raise those in increments of $5. The way it was before it was just a $5 parking ticket along. You had to raise each of these by $5 for each violation.”
Discussion was also given concerning the amount of time allowed before an increase would occur for failure to pay the initial parking violation fine. “The only discussion that I would have, it states in here that they have 48 hours to pay the fine,” Councilman Newsome stated. “I think that we should make that ten days before the additional $25 is incurred,” Newsome continued. Councilwoman Hairston-Brown agreed with Newsome stating, “It is a substantial increase. I don’t think 48 hours is enough.”
Following discussion, Carlton requested a motion to approve the parking violation fine increase. “Do we have a motion to increase the parking violations and driving violations by the amounts indicated on this parking violation notice and that they will have ten days to pay the initial fine before any increase fine takes effect?”
The council discussed parking violation further. Following discussion, council approved the motion to approve the parking violation fines. Before the meeting was adjourned Councilman Smith stated, “You know, we don’t want to do this but you have to do something to let this city survive whether people like it or not. In other towns, the fines are a lot steeper than what this is.”
The next meeting of the Williamson City Council will be held on Thursday, July 7 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at Williamson City Hall.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)