MADISON - The City of Madison is reconsidering the use of a tax collection service that claims it can identify and collect revenue that is due the city that they may not be aware of.
During their regular session on Feb. 4, Mayor Sonny Howell and the City Council discussed the service and why they may have a change of heart in employing the initiative.
City manager Steve Byus addressed council regarding the service, which tracks down vendors who do business in the county for business and occupation taxes that may fly under the radar.
"They're highly aggressive," he said. "What we probably should do is contact the board of education ourselves and contact the (Boone County) Commission ourselves and get a list of all of the vendors you've had working inside the city limits of Madison over the last two years and then do it ourselves and not have to pay anyone 15 percent."
Byus expressed that the same could be done for local convenience stores.
"I say let's try that for six or eight months and see what works and then come back to it again (if needed)," said councilman Buddy Hudson.
Councilman P.J. Johnson suggested that the city start with Boone Memorial Hospital and Boone County Schools vendors, making them a priority.
Hudson addressed the mayor and fellow council members about something that he found to be of concern.
"In our newspaper ad that was an advertisement for the levy, it shows so much money going towards recreation, maintenance, police protection and the one part I was interested in is that it states that $28,000 for the life of this levy that goes to recreation. Why is it not used for recreation? It is supposed to be earmarked for that and we say we're in the hole at the (Madison) civic center but there is no money from the levy going to the civic center."
Recorder Randy Foxx expressed that levy money is going into the general fund which in part is used for the civic center expenses.
"We have another levy coming up and I don't want this to come back and bite us," Hudson added.
Hudson also addressed concerns over the city's user fee, which is scheduled to raise to $3 per week in 2020. The fee is paid by people who work in the city of Madison.
"It is in our ordinance and it is supposed be used for streets and the police departments and as of now I haven't seen any of this used on streets," he said. "We need to use it for what it is supposed to be used for or this needs to be changed."
City Maintenance Supervisor and Police Chief Chet Burgess responded.
"We haven't drawn enough money from that to pave anything," he said. "We patch and repair. With paving you see insurance and workers compensation (rates) increase a lot."
Councilwoman Kathy Cash expressed the complaints that she has received regarding the streets.
Burgess added that the street maintenance, including sidewalks far exceeds the $11,000 that is earmarked for that purpose. He added that when salaries and equipment are figured into the equation, that the cost exceeds appropriated levy money and the user fee combined.
"Plus though, we have user fees of $54,945 and half of that is to go to street repair or paving on top of the levy money," added councilwoman Carolyn Mullins.
Foxx added that the ordinance would have to be revised by the city.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @philipdperry.