JASPER, AL (WBRC) - Several Walker County residents spoke out against one plan for Jasper to raise additional revenue. The city is considering extending its police jurisdiction three miles into the county. This would increase police coverage from 26 square miles to 75 miles. This would affect several businesses at Gateway Plaza in Curry.
During an afternoon work session of the city council, many opposed the plan. The business owners say Jasper should tighten its budget like everyone else. "Absolutely. The rest of us do suck it up and a find a way and don't leech off others," Debbie Tuggle said.
Many of those who addressed the council said the extension would amount to taxation with representation, since they would pay new taxes and not vote in city elections. "I can't vote on it. There is no vote on it. I can't vote, I live in the county," Billy Bonner said.
Walker County Commissioner Dual Tubbs says there was no need for Jasper Police protection for the affected areas. "As a county commissioner, I don't want the taxpayers to pay a dime more, especially for the severe service only duplicated what we are already doing," Tubbs said.
Mayor Sonny Posey says the plan was just one of several ideas. The city fears a down turn in revenues will hurt their budget next year. "We allowed for a three percent decline for the budget for the coming year. A budget we have not even adopted. If it comes in bigger than that, we've got trouble," Posey said.
During the work session, Jasper Police Chief Bobby Cain says it would cost more to hire at least eight officers to cover the additional 75 miles than the new taxes would bring into the city."Why would we spend 420-thousand to get 400-thousand? That makes no sense. I'd say this one is off the table," Posey said.
The mayor promised the group if the plan comes up for a vote they will be notified long in advance. Posey says another revenue idea is raising garbage rates. The mayor hopes to avoid layoffs of city workers next year if it is possible.