Carbondale city council members voted Tuesday to delay a four percent tax hike on prepared foods set to take effect August 1.
Area restaurants and business owners expressed outrage to the council during the more than three-hour meeting, calling the tax hike unfair and unexpected. The tax hike for drinks, hotels and prepared foods from restaurants was approved by the council during their June meeting but members were looking at expanding it to include prepared foods sold through convenience stores, gas stations and movie theaters.
Council members said the city needs to raise revenue to pay for police and fire pensions as well as pay for much needed improvements to the city's infrastructure and downtown area. They say the city has put off the improvements for years to save taxpayers money but its time now to step up and save the city before it diminishes further.
The city has agreed to table the tax hike which was set to take effect August 1 until at least October, potentially pushing it to January. Council members said they plan on using the time to meet with businesses as well as research other tax options that might spread out the sales tax more equitably in the community.
Business owners say they hoped to see the hike repealed altogether but say they're relieved to hear the council listening and taking concerns seriously.
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