Sales tax on agenda
Public hearing set for July 22
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
You've probably heard the old adage "a penny for your thoughts." But, on July 22, Hartselle's City Council wants to know your thoughts on a penny.
A public hearing on the proposed 1-cent sales tax increase is scheduled for July 22 during the next city council meeting. The council could decide to vote on the issue the same night.
The meeting will start at 7 p.m.
The 1-cent sales tax would raise some $1.4 million per year, money some city officials hope will be used to finance a bond issue to pay for an array of city projects.
The increase would not apply to automobiles or manufacturing equipment, which is taxed at a different rate. Sales on cars and manufacturing equipment, including farm equipment, is currently taxed at three quarters of 1 cent.
The sales tax increase faces stiff opposition from some council members, however.
"I think it's premature," Councilman Frank Jones said. "Now, we're having our property tax evaluated every year which means that will increase and the governor wants a $1.2 billion tax increase. Until we see what, where and how much, I'm reluctant to raise our taxes."
Mayor Clif Knight also opposes the increase.
"I am opposed to increasing our taxes," Knight said.
That leaves Council members Tom Chappell, who introduced the sales tax increase ordinance, Don Hall, who hasn't said if he supports the increase, and Dick Carter, who said he want to hear from the people before he decides.
"I'm not doing anything until I hear from them (the public)," Carter said. "If they are against it, I'm against it. It's their money."
The council is one member short following last week's resignation of Allan Stoner. Stoner's place will not be filled by the July 22 vote.
The sales tax increase is a last resort by some officials to finance city projects. Last year, voters rejected alcohol sales and a proposed 10 mill property tax increase never made it past the council.
If approved, the sales tax increase would go into effect Sept. 1.