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Published: Monday, 5/3/2004

Bryan council expects to put 0.5% tax levy on Nov. ballot

BRYAN - Bryan voters likely will decide a citywide income tax request in November.

City Council tonight is expected to approve placing a 0.5 percent income tax renewal on the general election ballot, after the same request failed in March.

Mayor Doug Johnson said city leaders want to be ahead of schedule in notifying the board of elections about the levy so volunteers can begin fund-raising and advertising activities long before the election.

The mayor said he believes a lack of advertising led to the tax's failure at the polls in March.

"We didn't have money for advertising, because we couldn't use city money. We didn't have a committee," Mr. Johnson said. "This time we can come out and have advertising."

The mayor said local resident Al Horn, an accountant, already has volunteered to act as a treasurer for the levy effort.

Mr. Horn has served on election committees before, including those involving past city school issues.

He said he feels strongly about the need for the city tax, as well as the need to push the importance of getting out to vote.

Mr. Horn said he plans to remind residents throughout the campaign that the income tax is necessary for general city operations and that it is not a new tax, nor does it call for residents to pay any additional money.

The tax would run for 9 1/2 years and would be earmarked for city street and sewers, as well as a building fund for the police and fire departments. Police and rescue crews have become crowded in their quarters at the old city hall, officials have said.

If approved, the income tax would raise about $1.6 million annually.

"It's something the community needs. Remember, it's for streets and sewers," Mr. Horn said.

"Do you want to have your snow removed? It can get pretty heavy."

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