A tax on pop will not be coming to a grocery store near you. At least not just yet.
In their April 27 regular meeting, Bethel City Council moved to postpone the final vote on the proposed sugar-sweetened beverage tax indefinitely. This postponement effectively kills the ordinance, unless a council member wishes to resurrect it in a future meeting.
The motion to postpone the vote passed 6 to 1. The only councilmember who wanted a final vote was Perry Barr, the council’s most outspoken opponent of the tax.
Bethel City Council has heard nearly eight hours of public testimony at meetings this month on the proposal, and many council members reported being approached or called by constituents on the issue outside of meetings. So far, no council member has expressed interest in taking the tax back up again. Councilmember Alyssa Leary said that she hoped the city could find another way to fund public recreational projects in the future.