Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2001

Council to offer franchise tax rebate for elderly, low income

March 22, 2001

The DeSoto City Council agreed to rebate the city's franchise tax for natural gas customers, despite earlier charges that it was an election-year ploy.

When the rebate was discussed at the March 1 city council meeting, Darrel Zimmerman suggested Councilman Duke Neeland was attempting to curry favor with senior voters in his mayoral election campaign.

Neeland tabled the rebate at that time, but brought it back to the table last Thursday. The councilman said Zimmerman's charges were unfounded.

"This is something I've worked on for several months," he said. "I don't think it's politically motivated."

When Neeland first discussed the rebate, he suggested it be made available to those 62 years of age or older. At the suggestion of Jodi Hitchcock, director of the local Johnson County Multi-Service Center, Neeland suggested the program be expanded to the disabled and those with incomes of 150 percent of the poverty level.

Hitchcock agreed to review the eligibility of those applying because of income guidelines. Many of those qualifying by income are families of single mothers with fathers who are not paying court-ordered child-support payments, and already make use of other programs offered by the Multi-Service Center, Hitchcock said.

The rebate will be offered annually at the start of the year. Hitchcock said she could verify the amount of the rebate by calling Greeley Gas with the customer account numbers.

After the council unanimously approved the rebate, Neeland suggested it could be expanded to electricity and other utilities once the council learns its effect on the city budget.

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