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COUNCIL OK'S SALES TAX EXEMPTION

City merchants may have some difficult bookkeeping as the result of City Council action Monday.

The Council voted 6 to 3 to participate in the Jan. 17-24 exemption from state and local sales taxes on some purchases.

Meanwhile, the Genesee County Legislature, which meets Wednesday, is expected to stick to its plan to impose its levy.

Thus, city businesses selling apparel and footwear for less than $500 would have to charge 2 1/2 percent sales tax -- the county's share of the 4 percent local levy.

Council members Christine Fix, B. Thomas Mancuso and Ann McCullough voted for keeping the tax.

Supporters included Council member Rosemary Christian, who branded opposition to the sales-tax exemption "baloney."

"You don't want to give some money back to the people who worked for it," she added.

Councilman Franklin J. Battaglia insisted that dropping the tax would "help local businesses with increased sales."

On another issue, the Council, after an hour of debate, set Oct. 13 for a public hearing on eliminating the cost to property owners of new sidewalks, repairs and replacements.

Until now, the homeowner has absorbed the full cost. Under the proposal to be voted on next month, the city will absorb the entire expense.

Council president George A. Spinnegan said the city's about-face resulted from the miles of city sidewalks in disrepair and the inability of many homeowners to pay for sidewalk construction.

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