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Proposed lodging tax draws mixed views

Most of the Pike County Commission candidates are undecided on a proposal to implement a county lodging tax on hotels.

In the Stump ’08 debate held last Thursday night, many of the candidates expressed neutral views on the proposal for this new tax.

In the District 3 race, however, all three candidates split different ways over the issue.

Incumbent Jimmy Barron said the tax is something he would need more time to review before determining whether he would support it.

“I would like to continue to check all resources available,” Barron said. “Until we gather more information, I haven’t decided which way if I’m for it or against it.”

His independent opponent Sherrill Calhoun, on the other hand, said he is against the proposed tax.

“As far as raising another tax right now, we’ve got to cut something else,” Calhoun said.

The district’s Democrat candidate Kathleen Forbish said while the tax may not be beneficial to the county, there’s only one way to find out.

“Some things we need to do by trial and error, and I know we need more money in Pike County,” Forbish said. “If it’s going to create a problem, no, but if it’s not, yes, but we never know until we try.”

Both District 4 candidates said they are also undecided on the lodging tax.

“I’m not going to say I’m for it or against it,” said Republican candidate Brian Floyd. “If the surrounding counties are not implementing that tax and we are, it could backfire on us, and I think we need to address it a little more.”

His opponent, incumbent Ray Goodson, was not present for the debate, but in a later interview said the tax is not something he has made up his mind on yet.

“I’m going to have to look at it more than what I have,” Goodson said.

District 6 Democrat candidate Oren Fannin said the tax sounds like it would be positive, but it would require more research before he took a stance.

“It’s not a tax directly on the people so it sounds good,” Fannin said. “If you look at it and can see it won’t drive business away, then that’s good.”

His Republican opponent Karen Berry was not in attendance at the meeting.

District 5 candidates, incumbent Charlie Harris, and his opponent Jeffrey Baker did not address the lodging tax in their debate.