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Snellville to study occupational tax collections

SNELLVILLE - City leaders in Snellville, led by councilman Warren Auld, have tasked City Manager Russell Treadway with reporting on the status of occupational tax collections in the city.

According to Treadway, occupational tax revenue is the fourth largest source of revenue in Snellville.

Council members had raised concerns in the past year as to whether all businesses who should have a license actually want through the proper channels and obtained one. With the economic downturn, occupational tax revenue is down from last year to the tune of about $110,000. The number of business licenses issued is also down from 2008 by nearly 100.

Treadway said Monday that the sluggish economy is responsible for much of the decrease in revenue, but "it is also possible that we have some under-reporting." The city manager also reported that about 86 businesses in the city do not have licenses at all, which is a violation of the city ordinances.

"We may need to aggressively enforce licensing requirements" and possibly establish an auditing program to identify those businesses and bring them into compliance, Treadway said.

The city of Snellville has a $30 million cap on taxable annual gross receipts, and there are a handful of businesses in the city that exceed that amount. Councilman Robert Jenkins stated that he did not want the city to further burden businesses by raising or eliminating that cap. "If businesses in the city owe us money, then we need to collect that," said Jenkins.

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said that, with $1.3 billion generated annually by Snellville businesses, a Municipal Option Sales Tax would result in between $9- and $10 million in city revenue. That money, according to Oberholtzer, could be used for much needed transportation improvements within the city.

November election called

Oberholtzer announced Monday that a general election will be held in Snellville on Nov. 3. Council posts 3, 4 and 5, currently held by Robert Jenkins, Barbara Bender and Warren Auld, will be decided in November.

A runoff election, if necessary, will be held on Dec. 1.

Both Kautz and Jenkins said Monday that they do not support the resolution calling for the election, as the voting place will be the Snellville City Center. Kautz remarked that the voting place is "sacred" and should be a neutral location and building. Likewise, Kautz said that poll workers should be politically "neutral" citizens. Jenkins echoed Kautz's sentiments.

Public hearing to decide SPLOST projects status

Treadway asked city council members Monday to throw their best efforts behind deciding which 2009 SPLOST projects are a "go or a no-go" at the July 27th city council meeting and public hearing. According to the city manager, the city can close on the Baker's Rock transaction on August 20 if council members give their go-ahead on July 27.

Baker's Rock is a 24-acre granite outcrop off Lenora Church Road. City leaders plan to turn the area and adjacent property into an educational park in which visitors will be able to bicycle, picnic and explore while learning about this fragile eco-system. The project comes at a cost of about $2 million.