November 22, 2017 11:03:04 AM
Tuesday night, the Columbus City Council held it regular meeting, breezing through a light agenda in a shade under 15 minutes.
Another opportunity lost.
While there had been some talk that one of the six councilmen would use the meeting to bring up for discussion the impasse of the 2-percent restaurant tax, no one stepped forward.
At some point, someone must step forward if the tax, and the roughly $2 million in generates is to survive. For more than a month now, all parities have discussed what to do about the tax, which will expire on July 1, 2018, unless the county and city present a joint resolution to the Legislature to have that tax renewed.
Failure to do so will likely mean the end of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention & Visitors Bureau, which relies almost exclusively on that tax revenue for its funding.
The Golden Triangle Development LINK will also lose the $250,000 it annually receives from the tax. And, should that tax go away, taxpayers will be stuck with paying off any current debt or commitments the CVB has incurred.
In the past 30 days, the city, county, LINK and CVB have each offered their own proposals for how to distribute the revenue generated by the 2-percent tax.
It is reasonable that each body should make those proposals based on their own needs and vision for how that revenue can best be used.
But you can't make a proposal and call it a day, which is exactly what has happened in this instance.
The proposals should not be take-it-or-leave-it ultimatums: They should be the starting point for negotiations.
All efforts to bring the parties to the table to negotiate an agreement have been summarily dismissed.
If these groups met and could not come to an agreement, it would be one thing. That they refuse to meet is a dereliction of duty.
If there is one thing that all parties should be able to agree on it is that the 2-percent restaurant tax is of great value to our entire community and the only thing that should really be non-negotiable.
What we will see now is if there is any leadership in our community, because without it, the impasse has no hope of being resolved.
We urge taxpayers to get in touch with their elected representatives and demand, in no uncertain terms, they hammer out a deal on the restaurant tax.
Citizens must not allow this baby to be thrown out with the bath-water.
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