Members of the Farmington City Council during their regular meeting Monday evening heard an informational presentation on the proposed Fulton County sales tax increase.

Members of the Farmington City Council during their regular meeting Monday evening heard an informational presentation on the proposed Fulton County sales tax increase.


Patrick O’Brian, area representative from the Fulton County Board, explained that the proposed sales tax is an additional one-half (1/2) percent tax on general merchandise. This does not include personal property such as vehicles, motorcycles or mobile homes.


The current total sales tax is 7.75 percent; if the sales tax referendum is passed in the April 2 election, a 8.25 percent sales tax would begin July 2019.


The increase would generate an estimated $800,000, which can only be used for public
safety projects.


If the referendum is approved, Fulton County will use the funds to make much-needed repairs to the jail.


According to O’Brian, required work includes replacing six air conditioning units (already approved by the board), repairing cell doors and the jail’s roof, constructing additional storage units and other low priority projects such as replacing the boiler and similar work at the courthouse.


“We’ve kicked the can for too many years,” he said, noting that the county could face serious


liability issues if jail cell doors break down during an emergency.


O’Brian said the sales tax increase was brought to the Fulton County Board when he first began his term and, because he did not know much about the proposal, voted against it. However, he said, he has researched the subject and believes the tax increase to be the only avenue the county can take to remedy these problems.


Monies generated from the increase would go into the county’s general fund - which has a $1.2 million deficit - and would be earmarked for public safety.


This does not mean the Sheriff Department’s budget is increased, O’Brian noted.


“We’re still going to run a responsible budget,” O’Brian said.


In other business, aldermen heard a suggestion from resident Darin Wright on an alternative to the city’s dilemma regarding the city building.


City officials have been debating the future of the City Municipal Building, as it needs costly repairs.


During the council’s last meeting, rough estimates were presented for construction of a new building - $1.7 million - and complete renovation of the current facility - $1.3 million.


Wright suggested that the city purchase the old dairy building, which currently houses the Farmington Township office, to house city offices and construct a small addition onto the building. The Farmington Township office would share the space with the city, he added.


Wright estimates the cost at $600,000 to $700,000.


“You don’t have to spend everything you have,” he said.


As for the 322 E. Fort. St. building, which city offices and the police department are currently housed in, Wright suggested leaving the YMCA where it is at but demolishing the remaining structures and selling the land for development.


Alderman Joey Boggs commented that his committee, Public Works and Grounds, will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. April 1 to discuss the future of the City Municipal Building and suggested that Wright attend.


The Farmington City Council also:
•Approved a maintenance agreement with the Farmington Township Board; the township will pay the city $13,000 for maintenance of the township park


•Heard an update from the Recreation Commission


•Approved the resignation of a Public Works employee and advertisement for the open position and


•Approved ordinances for the following programs: TIF commercial facade renovation, residential TIF redevelopment and residential out of TIF redevelopment.