Westover council looking to grow town

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The town of Westover is looking at increasing its sales tax to 3 percent, bringing the volunteer fire department under the city’s financial umbrella and negotiating with business to encourage economic development.

The council unanimously took steps toward those ends at its regular Jan. 4 meeting.

With all members present, the council voted to ask the mayor to draft an ordinance that would increase the town’s sales tax from 2 to 3 percent.

According to Mayor Mark McLaughlin, surrounding towns are already at 3 percent sales tax.

The council also voted to ask McLaughlin to negotiate an agreement with the Westover Fire Department for services including a timeline to &uot;municipalize&uot; the Fire Department.

McLaughlin explained that municipalize means to bring the fire department under the city’s umbrella for financing supplies.

He said the department would remain a volunteer unit but would not be burdened with having to raise funds.

On a motion by Councilmember Larry Riggins with a second from Councilmember Ed Bahr, the council voted to draft an ordinance authorizing McLaughlin to negotiate with businesses and developers to encourage economic development in the town.

Riggins made it clear that any negotiations would have to be brought back to the council for approval.

Riggins had earlier reported on incentives towns could give to businesses such as financial aid-type programs and deferred taxes.

In another action, the council voted to amend its budget to reflect $300 for the Beautification Board.

The council also voted to approve the mayor, council and town clerk to attend League of Municipalities certification training at a cost of $100 per person.

And the council voted to accept a description of outbuildings surrounding town hall and to advertise them for sale.

Councilmember Bahr reported that locks have been changed to make the library entrance to town hall separate.

He also reported that at this time the council does not have a funding source to make use of a building known locally as &uot;The White House&uot; for a new town hall.

McLaughlin explained that it has been the town’s intention to eventually use the current town hall as a senior center with recreational facilities and to secure another location for town hall.

Riggins reported that the Government Services Utilities Corporation has also approved a resolution supporting an agreement between the town and Enviro-systems LLC and the U.S. Geological Survey for a flow meter on Yellowleaf Creek at no cost to the town