City Council passes sticker ordinance

Jay Morgan, council member, said he does not support the ordinance. || Austin Ramsey/The News

The Murray City Council passed an ordinance on March 22 requiring Murray State students who live or work in the city, including those living in residential colleges, for 180 days to purchase a city sticker.

The original city sticker ordinance, drafted in 1961, exempted students who were not working in the city. The ordinance now makes no exemptions.

The city sticker takes the place of a payroll tax.

Before the vote was cast several council members spoke about the ordinance.

Jeremy Bell, council member, said he disagreed with the ordinance because Murray State students were only part of the Murray community for a brief period of time.

“I wish we would look elsewhere for funds,” he said.

Bell said he felt like the city was going after the students of Murray State, while the students already provide revenue for the city.

Jason Pittman, council member, said his reason for concern was one of enforcement.

However, he said many of the issues he had with the ordinance on the first reading, done on March 8, had been addressed.

Jay Morgan, University assistant provost and council member, agreed with Pittman that many of the loose ends on the first reading’s ordinance had been tied up, but that he still believed requiring the students to buy a city sticker was the wrong choice.

Morgan, who had many issues with discrepancies in the regulation at the first reading, worked closely with the city lawyer to hash out the details of the ordinance. One concern addressed was enforcement of the ordinance.

At the second reading there was little opposition to the revised ordinance making students pay for a city sticker.

Mark Welch, director of community relations, said discussions with the city started almost a year ago about the impact of the city stickers on Murray State students.

“Mayor Bill Wells has certainly given the administration and students ample opportunity to offer input,” he said.

He said the University is now moving forward with efforts to help inform students about the required purchase of a city sticker.

Several students feel the city council moved too fast in the passing of the ordinance and that their voices weren’t heard.

Colton Marino, sophomore from Benton, Ky., said the city stickers were a hassle since they must be purchased every year and are a burden to those with low incomes.

“The city doesn’t realize how much a flat rate disproportionately affects those on low incomes,” he said.

Mandy York, freshman from Marion, Ky., questioned how the city had any direct influence over the parking of students at Murray State.

President Randy Dunn said the University will not be involved in the collection of money or to sell on behalf of the city. He said the University might allow city officials to set up a table on campus for sale of the city stickers in order to provide convenience for students.

Dunn said students should consider themselves a part of the community or city of Murray.

“They certainly are involved in the economic vitality of the town, the culture of the town, give it a level of activity and engagement that wouldn’t exist but for their presence in the community,” he said.

Dunn concluded by saying University officials wish the exemption had been left in for students, but they will not allow the ordinance to damage the relationship between the University and the city of Murray.

Stickers go on sale on May 1, at the price of $50. The city will offer a pro-rated amount of $36.35 for students returning in the fall.

Contact Wilcox at cwilcox2@murraystate.edu.