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Voting date, smoking tax top South Boston council agenda

SoVaNow.com / July 09, 2018
South Boston Town Council will meet tonight with a decision to make on a new vice-mayor — one issue among many for Council members to decide.

Tonight’s meeting, set for 7 p.m. at Council Chambers on Yancey Street, also features a public hearing on a proposed 10 cent per pack cigarette tax, a rate that was lowered from the initial proposal of 25 cents per pack.

Council has offered up the cigarette tax as a way to generate revenue for salary increases for the town’s lowest paid employees, those making less than $40,000 annually.

Council members also are set to renew their debate on when to hold town elections. In June, the group voted to move municipal elections from May to November to boost voter turnout, but some Council members opposed the move, saying it would introduce partisanship into town elections.

Council member Tina Wyatt-Younger indicated in June that she would bring the issue back for a revote once newly elected member Sharon Harris took office — a change that Wyatt-Younger said would tip the majority back in favor of a May elections calendar. Wyatt-Younger is asking to rescind the June vote tonight.

Harris was the leading vote-getter in the town ballot two months ago, which also saw Vice-Mayor Coleman Speece lose his seat. Speece finished fourth in the Council election behind Harris, Winston Harrell and Bill Snead. A fourth member of Council, Michael Byrd, won his seat in a special election.

The town’s vice-mayor presides in the absence of Mayor Ed Owens. As mayor, Owens votes only when the six-member Council deadlocks on a tie vote.

Also tonight, Council is expected to appoint two members to an ad hoc committee to study alternatives to the county’s Agriculture Forestal Districts (AFDs), and make appointments to the town planning commission, IDA, library, and Southside Planning District Commission.



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