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Mayor wants to meet with county leaders

Cairo Mayor Richard VanLandingham

Still chafed by the Grady County Board of Commissioners rejection of a proposal that would allow Tax Commissioner Phyllis Gainous to collect city ad valorem taxes, the Cairo City Council decided it is time to have a heart-to-heart talk with county leaders about the importance of working together.
Cairo Mayor Richard VanLandingham will take that message to the county commission personally next week when he will appear before the board at its 6 p.m. meeting.
“I want to meet with them and question why they did what they did, and why they did not involve us before voting. We need to make sure we are all working together and cooperating with one another. Our request for them to collect our taxes is no different than the request they brought tonight for help with the lake project,” Mayor VanLandingham said. His reference to the lake project relates to a a request made by representatives of the county for the city to donate some city-owned property, which has been identified in the county’s 404 permit for wetlands and stream bank mitigation.
“When the county is successful, we (the city) are more successful, and vice versa. I don’t know what the intentions of their ‘no’ vote was, but the end result is that we (the city) were turned down,” the mayor said.
Councilman Bobby Gwaltney pointed out that the commissioners were concerned with the additional compensation the tax commissioner would receive under the proposed plan. The recommendation put to the county commission and to the city was for the city to pay $3 per parcel for the county to collect city taxes. Of that $3, Mrs. Gainous would be paid $1.25 per parcel and the county would receive $1.75 per parcel.
The mayor repeated, “We are the ones voted down.”
In addition to being more convenient for taxpayers, the city would not have to convert its tax program to the new accounting software it is transitioning in 2011 and it would cut related costs of operating a separate tax collection operation, according to City Manager Chris Addleton.

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