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Springfield: Mayor Houston's Infrastructure Plan Held for Review
Springfield aldermen are holding off on letting the public know if they support Mayor Mike Houston's infrastructure plan. Tuesday night, they decided not to raise their hands, to see if it will pass at the next council meeting.
No action was taken for the proposed sewer rate increase or sales tax increase. The four proposals are being held for further review.
One reason is because Houston was not at the meeting to answer questions. But the conversation about a proposed sales tax increase and a 5 percent sewer rate increase each year for 10 years went on for hours. Five people addressed aldermen, including business owners and the chamber of commerce.
Aldermen questioned why the chamber endorsed a sales tax increase without polling its members. Ward 1 Alderman Frank Edwards said more research should have been done.
"So if the chamber is willing to do that part of saying, 'Look at the needs, look at all this,' my challenge to the chamber is act like businesspeople and think, 'Let's see what we're doing before we jump out there and ask for our citizens to raise taxes,'" Edwards said.
As for where aldermen stand, we know there are two definite "yes" votes for the sewer rate increase proposal, and two "yes" votes for a sales tax increase. Instead of a sales tax increase, Alderman Gail Simpson wants to see a dine-out tax.
Though there was no action Tuesday night, aldermen or the mayor can pull these proposals out at next week's city council meeting for a final vote.
Aldermen will also debate next Tuesday about whether a recently-drafted affirmative action plan meets the needs of the city. The plan would be used to help diversify the city's workforce, considering a job applicant's age, race, gender, and veteran status.