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City Considers Bonds for New Fire Stations

The city council is going forward with a plan to scrap the Fire District Tax and finance the construction of three new fire stations with a bond referendum.

The Canton City Council has asked City Manager E. Scott Wood to "look into" creating a bond referendum in 2013 that would pay for the construction of three new fire stations for the Canton Fire Department.

Councilman Bob Rush voted to support the bond referendum, although he had reservations about doing so.

"A bond referendum only pays for the construction of the buildings," he said. "If we had to raise $1.3 mil for staffing, seniors would have to pay $47 more a year in taxes." 

Rush also said he was leery of borrowing money again, as the city is still paying the interest on the loan taken out for the reservior.

How would you vote on this potential bond referendum? Do you need more information to make up your mind? Tell us in the comments!

The bond would have an interest rate of three percent and be paid back over 20 years, said Wood. Although no vote was taken on the proposal, Wood was instructed by Mayor Gene Hobgood to begin looking into how to craft such a referendum.

The money the city would borrow under this plan would go towards the construction of three new fire stations for the City of Canton. With the expanded coverage the new stations would provide, homeowners insurance would likely become less expensive for Canton residents. 

It is expected that all three fire stations will be operational within four years.

Other business covered by the Council at Thursday's meeting included:

  • Hearing a presentation on the proposed Homestead Option Sales Tax, given by Cherokee Commissioner Harry Johnston in lieu of Chairman Buzz Ahrens. Johnston passed out a page of information answering common questions about the proposed sales tax (PDF attached).
  • The Canton Downtown Development Authority is looking for funds to upgrade the Canton Theater. Their plans including adding the capability for the theater to play movies by installing a projector, screen, and Dolby Surround Sound system with complete integration of all systems. The DDA believes corporate sponsorships of movie festivals and seminars would bring added revenue for the city.
  • The city is continuing to look at ways to change its business fee model. A plan is under consideration that would change the fee from a gross receipts model to an employee-based model. Canton's lowest business fee of $125 is the highest in the area.
  • City Manager Wood is asking for $30,000 in SPLOST VI funds to purchase new Christmas lights for downtown. There is concern that the lights are so old and decrepit that there may not be a Christmas display this year unless new lights are acquired as soon as possible.

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Eric Schrader October 06, 2012 at 09:01 AM
I'd like to ask the Canton City Council where did all the money go from the impact fees from the thousands of houses that have been build in Canton over the past 5-7 years? Is the bond going to be funded by general revenues or a dedicated source of funding. The discussion about the alternative business license fee schedule has been going on for months. Why did it take Scott Woods over 3 months to do a survey of other cities, only to have the Council kick the can down the road even further. This is not rocket science; it's called plagerism. Don't re-invent the wheel and just use something that already works. I don't think the Council does their homework, because when an item comes up for discussion, like the business license schedule or even re-naming a street, there is little discussion, asking insightful questions and the items are just deferred. This is no way to govern.

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