Is the City Doing Enough to Inform the Public?

After two weeks of controversy swirling around allegations that the city of Tallahassee was charging state sales tax on electricity provided to certain customers, Wednesday’s city hall meeting ended with Commissioner Scott Maddox statement of, “We’re not taking candy from babies.”

 This was in regards to Erwin Jackson who brought the issue to the table on March 27. Jackson claims the city of Tallahassee for more than 20 years has taken $22,000 worth of sales taxes meant for exemption. The Director of Utility Business and Customer Services, Reese Goad, spoke at the meeting to clarify how sales taxes are collected and what role does the city play in it.

Now according to Goad, the city of Tallahassee does not collect the money but acts as a “pass through” to the Department of Revenue. He repeats a number of times that they “do not keep any money” tailoring the theme that the city of Tallahassee is innocent. However, that really didn’t smooth things for Jackson who was quite antsy in his seat during Goad’s explanation.

Mayor John Marks added that the “city has done nothing inappropriate.” According to Goad, the paper work is in order and there is “no secret” about tax exemptions. Although the city of Tallahassee has not made any stride to update their website or notify customers of a possible exemption. But Goad thinks the city has informed the public. He said, at least 40 percent of Tallahasseans know they are exempt from sales tax.

After a brief tug of war between Commissioner Maddox and Jackson about the credibility of the board, the meeting concluded that the city is only at fault for not notifying its customers. Goad said, “We want to take action to help our customers.”

The commissioners are planning to take action by “putting together a plan to notify customers” and updating their website said City Manager Anita Favors Thompson.

Things subsided some with Jackson who said all he want is an “honest mayor” with an honest agenda for his people.

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