Council puts cannabis, ½-cent sales tax on ballot
By Crystal Havner
Special to the Sun-Gazette
farmersville – The Farmersville City Council took a big step in their financial future by leaving some important tax measures up to the voters. As of last week, July 24, residents in Farmersville will vote to increase their sales by a half percent, in addition to voting for a local tax on cannabis businesses. But it is still unclear whether cannabis businesses will be allowed in the city limits.
As of now, residents are simply voting on a tax structure if cannabis businesses were ever to come into town. Whether they come into town or not is left up to the City Council. If they decide to allow cannabis businesses into town they will have to pass an ordinance that would let them legally operate in the city of Farmersville.
“This is just a tax structure that is going on the ballot,” said Mayor Pro Tem Matt Sisk. “Nothing has been decided yet.”
“We have to decide what we will and won’t allow in the city,” said Mayor Paul Boyer, “and we need to let them know before November so they will know what they are voting for. This has not been easy. We on the council have different opinions so we really value the residents’ opinions.”
City resident Joe Navarro said, “Personally I don’t want the City to have anything to do with it. Once you start all the bad stuff follows.”
The resolution passed 4-1 with council member Leonel Benavides voting against.
The half cent sales tax was not a hotly debated topic as the Council voted unanimously to put a half percent sales tax increase on the ballot as well.
“Our expenses are out pacing our revenue,” said city manager John Jansons. “A half percent sales tax would add $300,000 annually to the budget. Also, with a sales tax, everyone that shops in Farmersville, helps pay for Farmersville.”
In a practical show of solidarity, the Farmersville city manager opted to forego his monthly automobile allowance of $3,000 per year, or 3% of his annual salary, to help the City close the budget deficit. The deficit has been a concern for years and this year cuts became rather dramatic when city administration froze the salaries of city staff.
Mayor Boyer spotlighted the item on the Council’s agenda when he pulled it from the routinely passed consent items.
“I wanted it pulled so I could comment on this item and it not just pass in the consent agenda with no mention,” said Boyer. “John would have wanted it that way, but I think people need to know that their City Manger is doing this. He cares about this City and is willing to do what he can to help out.”