Smithfield Council Member Walks Out of Meeting, Residents Upset Over Increased Income Tax

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Tempers flared between Smithfield council and residents during a meeting Wednesday night.

This follow a 1% income tax being pushed by the Smithfield council in what they call an emergency situation to be able to pay the bills and continue to operate. That’s according to Mayor Diana Holcombe.

“They just don’t want it but they voted to keep us a village, so how do we stay a village if we don’t have any operating funds,” said Holcombe.

“It’s a one mil. Income tax, and there’s a lot of restrictions on who gets taxed and how it gets taxed,” Holcombe said.

Residents anger comes after discussion of the tax, but also on the council’s ability to handle the situation.

“I’m not very happy. We had it on the ballot in November, we voted (it) down. They come in on December 13th, they barely had a quorum, but they passed an emergency,” said Smithfield resident Tom Arnett. “To me, it’s like the council telling the village we don’t care what you think we’re gonna do what we want to do.”

Arnett is a 25 year resident of Smithfield, told 7News he’s “just fed up” with being punished for others errors.

“My problem with the tax, is that we should not have to pay for someone else’s mistake. I paid for the sewage once when they brought the sewage in here,” Arnett said. “I had to pay $2,200 hook up fee, had to pay to have a certified plumber come in and lay down the pipes and all that. I paid for it once, why should I have to pay for it again?”

The council eventually got the meeting back under control, the member who left returned and they then voted for the tax to pass.

“I just don’t like the way they did it, when the people voted no,” Arnett said.

Mayor Holcombe told 7News she appreciated the people giving their opinions, but in a more reasonable fashion. “You can be upset, but if you don’t step up and try to solve the problem, you’re not helping,” said Holcombe.

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