SALEM - Four ordinances, two dealing with the annexation of drag strip property and two dealing with the tax credit were before council on Wednesday in two separate, special meetings.
Two ordinances dealt with repealing the originals that didn't include emergency clauses and the other two then dealt with approving new, replacement ordinances with the emergency clauses.
Council President Mickey Cope Weaver explained that Mayor Jerry Wolford requested the meeting on the annexation repeal and repassage of a new ordinance.
Wolford said it was left out of the annexation ordinance by "oversight or something happened and the ordinance didn't include the emergency clause," and he wanted council to repeal and reintroduce it with the emergency clause so the people wanting the annexation can move forward.
The tax credit ordinance meeting was requested by council members Dennis Groves, Bret Apple and Mary Ann Dzuracky and called for the repeal and reintroduction with the emergency clause.
The tax ordinance forces city residents working outside of Salem and paying income taxes to the municipality in which they work, to also pay the city's one-percent tax.
While a number of guests attended the meeting, Cope Weaver explained there is no provision for public input during a special meeting.
A citizens group is attempting to secure enough signatures for a ballot referendum to repeal the annexation ordinance.
Cope Weaver said there's not even an agenda for special meetings under council's rules and invited people wanting to speak to return and sign up to speak during next Tuesday's regular meeting.
After the meeting, Robert McCluggage, an annexation opponent who at first signed the petition but changed his mind, called the meetings a "kangaroo court."
One of the three ordinances was passed.
The annexation repeal and new ordinance each received first readings with Councilmen Dave Nestic and Brian Whitehill voting "no."
They are scheduled for further readings tonight and at Friday's special meetings.
Council did repeal the tax credit ordinance with a 4-2 vote after suspending its own rules with a 4-2 vote, with Nestic and Whitehill voting "no" and then suspending statutory rules for all three readings with a 5-1 vote with Nestic voting "no."
Suspending council requires a two-thirds vote and statutory rules requires five votes.
The new tax credit ordinance received a first reading only after failing to obtain five votes to suspend statutory rules for all three readings. Nestic and Whitehill voted against suspending the statutory rules.
Groves, who sponsored the tax credit legislation, said without the emergency clause the city was left a month behind in its ability to collect the money from the credit. He said it amounted to $20,000. Passing the legislation will allow the city to collect it beginning on Aug. 1 instead of in September.
After the vote on the annexation, but before voting against the tax credit ordinance, Nestic questioned Wolford about people "looking to put something on the ballot" and the new legislation would make it more difficult for them to get it on the ballot.
He said it made it "nearly impossible."
Wolford referred the question to Groves since it was the tax credit ordinance they were about to vote on, but Nestic said he was asking for clarification, adding he called the law director and was waiting for his response.
With four more special meetings, two tonight and two on Friday, council has three issues to deal with for second and third readings: the repeal of the old annexation ordinance and passage of the new ordinance, and the new tax credit ordinance.
The meetings will begin at 9 p.m. each day.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org