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Oxford to levy 2 percent additional tax on places selling alcohol

The city of Oxford levied a tax Tuesday for certain local businesses.

The Oxford City Council voted at a council meeting that evening to levy a 2 percent privilege tax increase against businesses that sell alcohol.

Councilman Steven Waits said the tax will be directed toward the Oxford Police Department. Waits said the council had discussed the tax for nearly a year.

The council also held a public hearing on whether a property on Humphries Street would be rezoned from a neighborhood shopping center to a planned development, as requested by the property’s owner, Jigneshbhai Patel.

Local developer Mike Howard, who spoke on Patel’s behalf, told the council traffic was light on the road leading to the property, and Patel had agreed to match the exterior of his planned building with that of other buildings in the area.

Oxford Fire Chief Gary Sparks said he had concerns that the development would increase traffic and make it more difficult for firetrucks to safely come into the nearby fire station.

“We can’t stop them on a dime,” Sparks said.

The proposed ordinance failed, however, when none of the council members made a motion to approve it.

In other business, the council: 

• Authorized a tax abatement agreement for Bridgewater Interiors, LLC. According to a news release from the Calhoun County Economic Development Council, the company announced a $10 million expansion that will create 35 new jobs in Oxford.

• Amended an ordinance passed earlier this year concerning eminent domain proceedings at a property on Leon Smith Parkway for a bridge widening project. Waits said the resolution will clarify some wording in the initial ordinance. Waits previously told The Star the property’s owner asked for $500,000 from the city in exchange for it, which Waits said was excessive.

• Authorized the city’s finance director to reimburse the city attorney for expenses to attend a municipal law conference.

• Declared an Oxford police car as surplus.