Letter to the Editor

City should pay IRS debt on its own terms

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

To the editor:

After outlining several shortcomings of the city administration, William Masterson said he would vote "yes" on the 15 months sales tax to settle our IRS debt. I will vote "yes" also.

We all must realize that the IRS will be satisfied either on their terms or ours. I prefer our terms.

One suggestion has been to sell city property, ie: land. That land produces some rent income and that income will be lost forever. Further, the land alone will not settle the debt.

Some say close the golf course, as it doesn't "make money." By that logic, we should close all parks, museums, the library or any other non-money making entities. We the people voted for and support those things because we know there is more to building a community than just making money. Running the city, including parks, golf courses, police and fire etc. takes money. No doubt there are ways of doing these operations more efficiently. The recent story on reduction in overtime pay is a good start. We need to hold our city leaders' "feet to the fire" and make efficiency and cost-cutting the No. 1 priority.

Who is going to pay this tax? The citizens of Blytheville will pay on all purchases made in Blytheville. Residents of Tennessee, Illinois and every other state who stop in Blytheville and buy food, gas or lodging will also pay the tax. It is estimated that 35 percent of groceries sold in Blytheville are out-of-state customers. Drive the Walmart parking lot and you will probably see 10 to 15 different license plates. We won't be alone.

Some want accountability before they say yes. All I can say to that is the IRS doesn't care. The state police are investigating this matter and we will know in time. It is not that time yet.

By passing the tax, we can settle the debt. It is possible that some interest and penalty can be waived. If the police investigation recovers any monies, that can be applied to the debt. At any time the debt can be paid off, my understanding is the City Council can terminate the tax short of 15 months.

Here are some things the citizens of Blytheville can do to help:

-- Recycle, we don't pay a tipping fee for garbage we recycle.

-- Cell phones, stay off while driving. The accident you avoid frees up the police from traffic court and overtime.

-- Food bank, contribute what you can for someone who can't

-- Community Cleanup, participate if only to pass out water to people cutting brush.

There are a lot of things to get involved in to help make Blytheville a better place. If we all pull together, maybe we can have a big community picnic and even a "City Sales Tax Holiday" when we get past this.

Tom Wiktorek