Smyrna Town Council passed a motion at the Sept. 3 council meeting to designate a portion of the municipal parking lot off South Main Street as the site of the future Smyrna Public Library. However, there were several other items of business that were discussed. Here are a few tidbits from the meeting.
Concerns for back taxes
During the "Other Council Business" portion of the meeting, Councilwoman Valerie White said she wanted information brought to the next council meeting with the totals of back taxes owed for 2011 and prior.
"If I'm reading the reports right, there's a lot of money the town is owed and there are a lot of things that we're not doing to get this money or need to do more aggressively to get the money," White said. "There has to be more that we can do then what we're doing and I'm really not sure but I'll research that more."
White said the total of money owed from back taxes is increasing and she doesn't see it going anywhere other than as money owed to the town.
Town Manager Dave Hugg said there are 11 properties pending sheriff sale for significant amounts of back taxes and the back taxes are as old as from 2008 but the Sheriff's Office is backed up right now.
White said towns in other states don't go to sheriff's sale and instead go to auction for the amount owed.
Hugg said the town has used collections agencies before but had better luck with seasonal employees making phone calls for the town. Moreover, he said the town doesn't really want the properties to go to sheriff sale because they may be stuck with the properties.
However, Hugg said he could provide council with the information.
Issues with Route 1 signage
White also spoke out against the lack of signage on Route 1 regarding gas stations in Smyrna. She said currently the first gas station tourists see when coming off of Route 1 into Smyrna is the BP gas station, which sells gas that cost $1 more per gallon than anywhere else in town.
She said drivers stop for gas, drove further down the road and realize they could've gotten cheaper gas elsewhere.
White said she's received complaints from tourists and residents. She's concerned it will turn tourists away from the town.
Hugg said it was his understanding that signs on Route 1 are advertising signs and businesses would need to pay a fee to include their business on the sign. He said he could check into it to make sure.
"I agree with you. It's one dollar across the board more than everyone else in town," Hugg said.
Council to honor veterans
Councilman John Embert said he would like to honor members of the military and veterans at the Nov. 4 council meeting. He suggested each council member nominate a soldier or a veteran.
"It's [the meeting] a week before Veteran's Day is the reason I'm bringing it up now," Embert said. "It gives us time to pick someone."
Councilwoman Andrea Rodriguez suggests council make it an open invitation for all service members to attend and they'll honor everyone in the audience; she doesn't want to make anyone feel left out.
"I understand that's why I suggested we each pick one. We're all from different corners of the town. This will at least start things and hopefully we can make this a yearly tradition," Embert said.