In an effort to balance a budget that faces a $600,000 deficit, Clarkdale Town Council members may raise the town's sales tax 0.75 percent. The council directed town staff Tuesday night to develop an ordinance to be considered during the April 14 meeting.
The most likely of the several options being considered seemed to be a 0.75 percent increase to raise the town's sales tax from the current 2.25 percent to 3 percent. That percent of raise would increase the town's revenue by an estimated $111,244.
Resident and businesswoman Robyn Prudhomme-Bauer spoke to the council during discussion. She said an increase in the sales tax would directly impact local businesses. She pointed out that businesses are already dealing with serious issues in this economy. Lending is unavailable to us, she said, and customers are already reluctant.
"Recognize that we are Main Street," Prudhomme-Bauer said. She said that raising sales taxes could cause more employers into further layoffs.
She asked the council members that if they do raise the sales tax to somehow limit it, to maybe three years, and repeal it when the economy improves.
Councilwoman Pat Williams asked if the council can in fact rollback the sales tax.
"You can always roll it back," said Town Manager Gayle Mabery. She did point out, however, that she is sure if a council can write a sunset clause into an ordinance. Such a clause could limit the choices of future town councils.