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County Council, July 27

Sales tax referendum ballot passes second reading
But issues remain
Warwick Jones

The sales tax referendum ballot passed the second reading with only Council member Johnson in opposition. As expected, a special meeting of the Council was called to again consider the referendum ballot, and it was held today. There was little discussion and no other motions were voted upon. Council members Darby and Condon were absent and Chairman Summey indicated that he would oppose any vote or motion beyond that for the second reading. This was out of deference to the absent Council members.

The third and final reading will be in August and as Council member Schweers suggested, could be fractious. There still were issues before Council that needed resolution. The Council member indicated unhappiness with the allocation of $125 million for greenbelts. He thought it should be at least 10% of the total funds raised, i.e. $210 million. He made a motion to change the amount but withdrew it at the urging of the Chair and out of deference to the absent Council members. Chairman Summey also indicated that he would support a higher amount for greenbelts at the third reading.

Council member Schweers also expressed concern as to the speed of the process and the limited time to consider issues. He wondered whether the third reading would be a repeat of the last meeting, which was directionless and rowdy. But as the Chair noted, there were time constraints and the reading could not be deferred if the referendum were to be held at the end of this year.

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