Lanett approves sales tax rebate for Guthrie’s

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, December 22, 2021

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LANETT — In their final regular meeting of calendar year 2021, the Lanett City Council on Monday approved a resolution to seek grant funding for a new street sweeper, renewed a line of credit with Renasant Bank and approved a sales tax rebate for a new business in the city.

The rebate will be going to Twelve Tag Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Guthrie’s of Lanett. Guthrie’s will be getting back 40 percent of its city sales tax for the next four years. It’s being done in exchange for the business having invested approximately $1.3 million in development costs to locate in Lanett.

The resolution was approved in a 5-1 vote with Mayor Jamie Heard and council members Angelia Thomas, Tifton Dobbs, Charles Looser and Tamalita Autry voting in favor and Council Member Tony Malone being against.

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Malone said the council was setting a bad precedent.

“It will open the door for other existing businesses in the city to ask for the same,” he said. “What will we do when they come asking?”

“Like any other city, we need as many retail outlets as possible, and I am pleased Guthrie’s located in Lanett,” he said. “But I can’t vote for this due to the fact it doesn’t help the citizens or other existing businesses in the city.”

Malone said if the city is giving a tax break to one business, what about giving some kind of break to seniors, people with disabilities and low-income people who are struggling to pay their utility bills?

In other action, the city is looking to acquire a 2022 Gale Force Street Sweeper. It could be purchased off the state bid list for $131,500 with a state reimbursement of $50,000. The vehicle would be purchased from Schwarze Industries located in Huntsville. Under the terms of a 55/45 percent purchase, the city would owe $81,500.

Lanett would need to apply for the purchase through the USDA Rural Development Program.

For several years now, the city has had a $300,000 line of credit with Renasant Bank. It has been renewed for the coming year. Funds can be removed either through a majority vote of the council or two signatures from a combination of Heard, Dobbs and City Clerk/Treasurer Deborah Gilbert.

The line of credit has been established to deal with an emergency. Thus far, no money has been withdrawn from it.

In other action, the council unanimously approved raising the rental rate of the Jane Farrar Event Center from $100 plus a $100 deposit to $300 and a $100 deposit.

There’s a weekday rate of $100 for a Monday through Thursday luncheon meeting.

Council Member Angelia Thomas said she very much supported the purchase of a street sweeper and had thought the city needed one for some time now. She also thought the new rental rate for the event center was fair and that people would continue to use it.

“It’s really nice there,” she said. “We have a new kitchen and an ice machine. It’s a good place for hosting events.”

Malone said the city should be taking a look at charging fees for street vendors.

Fire & EMS Chief Johnny Allen said Santa Claus would be in Lanett on Christmas Eve and would be aboard a fire truck and being driven all over town.

“This will be going on from around 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.,” he said. “We have been doing our best for several years running to drive past every house in the city that calls us and asks us to come down their street. We always get a great response to this, and we enjoy doing it.”

The city’s newest council member, Tamalita Autry, said that she had enjoyed her council service so far. She said that she has a lot to learn and appreciates all the support she has received.

“I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year,” she said.

Heard and other council members passed on the same message.

“It has been a good year in Lanett,” said Council Member Charles Looser.

“We have Lanett citizens in our hearts and minds when we make decisions,” Council Member Thomas said. “We want to do things for them, especially for the elderly.”

Council Member Dobbs said he was grateful some street paving had recently taken place in his district.

“That’s something people always ask about,” he said.

He also commended the job being done by Jody Lowery in the development of the Lanett airport.

“He has undergone some training on this,” he said. “He has taken classes on the subject.”

Heard said he wanted the citizens to know he will listen to their needs and their concerns.

“It won’t fall on deaf ears,” he said. “We will always do our best to help you. There are some things we can do, and some things we can’t. We will always try to do what we can for you.”