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Bryan: Table Rental Car Tax

Is it right to confiscate 3 percent of a successful business' gross revenue and give it away to businesses that can't make it on their own?

Here is the text of an e-mail I sent to the regarding the current .

Gentlemen,

Tonight I will be asking you to table this ordinance. Here are the reasons. I only mention Enterprise because the other two rental places apparently conduct extremely limited rental business. The independent lot near the pump station did not return my call which included an explanation of the purpose of the call. The receptionist at Toyota and the Service Manager she sent me to both said that they did not rent cars.

Revenue side:
1. We were led to believe that Enterprise had no problem with the
imposition of the tax. We now know that is not true.

2. We were led to believe that this tax was a common and widespread practice. We now know that is not true.

3. Enterprise is already contemplating a move within the city. We now know that because of this proposal, they are considering moving out of the city to a closeby location that is free of this tax.

Spending side:
1. We now know that there is not a solid, workable plan in place for the effective distribution of this new tax money. It is actually painful to watch the video (on the city website) of Ginger's tentative, uncertain answers to my question's pertaining to the program. Twice she affirms that existing businesses will be eligible to apply for these funds and then admits that there is no plan in place of how to decide who gets what. I even gave her advance notice to expect these questions. Then on the video Gene states that existing businesses will NOT be eligible and that only new businesses will be eligible. Then the debate starts. John even states that "this is a good plan that needs no tweaking" after it is apparent to all that there really IS NO PLAN. Comical! - except that we are debating about how to spend somebody else's money that will be confiscated from them against their will.

2. It is obvious to everybody paying attention that the only plan, if you can call it that, is to impose a new tax, let the money start piling up, and then figure out how to spend it. Is that responsible use of taxpayer's hard earned money?

Thank you for your consideration,

Bill

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Roxana Vera March 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM
I totally agree with your point. The idea and "plan" was clearly not thought out. Moreover, throwing good money after bad is not the answer. I know in a previous article there was the suggestion of a meeting with Woodstock officials to ascertain what was done to help Downtown Woodstock's resurgence. Did that ever happen and, if so, any new information on that? I would really love to see a vibrant, thriving Downtown Canton and hopefully this will happen!
Bill Bryan March 17, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Yes. Last Monday I spent two hours with Billy Peppers. He is the Director of Economic Development of Woodstock. Both cities have about the same population - 23,000. Both cities spend approximately the same amount of tax dollars on economic development - close to $300,000. That's where the similarities stop. Canton spends well over $100,000 on just the Theater, which is pitifully under used. It is becoming apparent that Canton has a very disfunctional and problematic economic development organizational structure. In Woodstock, their Director is over ALL economic development. He does not care where the new business locates - everybody is on the same team. New business in the shopping centers is good for downtown and viceversa. In Canton there is a competitive mentality of "us vs them". The downtown folks view the shopping centers as their competition. There are no organized, methodical efforts being made to attract business anywhere except downtown. And the downtown effort is fragmented and disharmonous between the different committees and organizations. Much of our disfunctionality is due to the fact that our Main Street Director reports to the Mayor and not the Main Street Board. She is caught in the middle in a highly politicized situation. Her office should not even be in City Hall. We have no Economic Development Director. And yes Woodstock does have the rental car tax. 100% of it goes to Public Safety - not rent sibsidies.

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