Freeport taxes are levied against businesses and manufacturers’ personal property and inventory.
“I should have said this earlier, it is, of course, a big part of your economic development efforts,” City Attorney Boyd Pettit said to the council. “It does put you at a competitive disadvantage when you have freeport tax in place.”
The city has never passed any freeport exemptions, as Emerson did not collect property taxes after the mid-1980s. However, once the council raised the millage rate to two mills, the freeport tax went into effect.
City Manager Kevin McBurnett said Enforcer Products, an Emerson-based manufacturer, asked the city to follow Bartow County’s lead and set the exemption at 80 percent. He added the county may move to a 100 percent exemption, as there was debate about the freeport tax during the recent election.
The approved Sunday sales referendum will apply to package sales of malt beverages and wine; consumption of distilled spirits, beer and wine; and serving those beverages. At the previous city council meeting, all council members said they wanted to approve as many Sunday sales laws as possible with one vote.
The only Sunday sale law not on the referendum is the sale of distilled spirits. Under current state law, a city council cannot approve such sales through a referendum. Emerson citizens must create and sign a petition then present that petition to the council before a referendum can be placed on a ballot.
The Emerson City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at city hall.