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Mammoth residents register complaints about new 'food' tax levied by town

San Manuel Miner of San Manuel, Arizona

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San Manuel Miner

Democracy had its finest hour at a special informational 'town hall' meeting in Mammoth earlier this month.

The Sept. 10 meeting was supposed to be at the Mammoth Community Center but the crowd was so big, it exceeded the fire safety capacity and had to be moved to the STEM School gym.

It was democracy in action as many Mammoth residents came to protest the new four percent food tax and listen to what Mammoth Mayor Don Jones had to say. A number of adults and children waved protest signs, one saying "No Tax on Food." Most of the crowd was against the tax although some people spoke in favor of the Mayor.

Mayor Jones defended the tax and explained that it would cost people only $4 on a $100 purchase of groceries. He said the town was in debt and $90,000 needed to be raised to offset the debt. The food tax, he said, would help significantly.

The Mayor pointed out that people on the SNAP program (food stamps) would not have the burden of the tax placed on them as they do not have to pay the tax.

Some people like Luis Lopez, owner of Carniceria Rancheros, and former Mayor Al Barcelo voiced their opposition to the tax. One business owner brought up the suggestion that the town sell the building they own on Highway 77 to raise the money. The building is where Michoacanas Restaurant and the Carniceria are currently located. Tax Liens

Despite rumors, Mayor Jones told the San Manuel Miner that even if the town of Mammoth was forced into disincorporation and bankruptcy, Pinal County or other creditors would not be able to place tax liens on town residents' personal property to satisfy town debts. Arizona Revised Statutes do not allow for this.

The town could be forced to surrender revenue streams and assets. This would not affect the personal property of the town's residents.

Pinal County Board of Supervisors Vice-Chairman concurred with this, adding that the county would not come in and place liens on citizen's property. The only time that happens is if a property owner owes back property taxes to the county. Police Chief

Sgt. Dave Blue of the Department of Public Safety spoke to residents about DPS possibly temporarily taking over the policing of Mammoth. It is a program that DPS provides to assist police departments in their search for a qualified police chief. Sgt. Blue is currently the interim Police Chief in Kearny.

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Original Publication Date: September 23, 2015

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