Fairbanks tax proposal headed for October ballot

Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) Sponsors of a proposed city sales tax initiative have collected enough signatures to place the measure on the Oct. 7 municipal ballot.

City Clerk Carol Colp said she verified 1,615 signatures in support of putting the sales tax before voters, slightly more than the 1,607 that were needed.

The proposal calls for a 3 percent tax on retail sales and services while drastically reducing city property taxes.

After granting organizers of the sales tax initiative an extra week to turn in signatures, Colp spent the weekend reviewing the list and said Monday that the proposal would make the ballot.

Councilwoman Donna Gilbert, an opponent of the sales tax, still hopes to prevent the proposal from making the ballot.

Gilbert has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court contending the process used by organizers of the initiative was illegal. She seeks a ruling banning the proposal from the ballot.

Nelson Miles, one of the organizers of the initiative, said sales-tax backers are prepared to fight Gilbert in court. Supporters have retained an attorney, he said.

Mayor Steve Thompson, who supports the sales tax, said at a City Council meeting Monday that he was ''disgusted'' with Gilbert's criticism of the city for allowing the initiative to go forward.

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