Decatur Council Member Proposes "Service Tax" for Employees

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DECATUR--The city manager says Decatur needs new streams of revenue and city council member Bill Faber has a proposal.

"Every person who works in Decatur, whether they live in Decatur or whether they come from Mt. Zion or Cerro Gordo or wherever, would pay a tax of $3 a person per week. And that would be collected to the employer and paid quarterly to the city," said Faber.

Faber says between Decatur residents who work in the city and the 22,000 employees that come from out of town, his "citizen service tax" will generate more than $3 million annually to fix roads and bridges.

"I'm just putting this on the table for our city manager and our council members to consider, instead of the gas tax," said Faber.

Some worry taxing all employees will drive people to work out of town.

"Decatur is turning into a ghost town," said Decatur employee, Leon Green. "You're running everybody away with your taxes and everything after a while, who are you going to tax."

Faber acknowledges that it's sure to be a controversial conversation for the council.

"That's the negative part about it," said Faber. "But we have 22,000 people who work out of town take advantage of our fire protection, our roads, our sewer systems and are not paying anything."

Others say alternatives need to be considered.

"I know we need to raise taxes," said resident John Davis. "But people living in Decatur shouldn't be isolated and penalized because they live in Decatur."

Faber hopes to discuss his proposal at the next city council meeting.

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