Warrior-Hayden taxation dispute continues

WARRIOR, AL (WBRC) - Business owners in Warrior and Hayden unite to fight a sales tax ordinance recently passed by the Warrior City Council.

The ordinance would implement a 1.5% sales tax on businesses that are within Warrior's police jurisdiction, and in return, Warrior would provide police protection for that area.

Since the ordinance passed, Hayden business owners have boycott Warrior businesses in protest. At Monday's Warrior City Council meeting, Warrior business owners said the boycott has cost them some loyal customers, and they worry it will hurt the city as a whole.

"I know Warrior needs the money, but we can get it somewhere else?" said owner of Warrior Pharmacy, Pat Reeve. "If they stop trading with us, it will hurt our city as a whole."

Warrior Mayor Rena Hudson said the ordinance was designed to generate money for the city, and in exchange, they provide police protection for Hayden.  She said it is unfortunate it has caused such disagreements.

"I'm somewhat shocked at the response," said Mayor Hudson, "I knew they needed police protection, I knew we could provide it. I hope things can be amicably worked out."

Hayden residents said they never see Warrior police patrol the area, and don't think they should have to pay for the service.

Many of them said the sales tax ordinance has also hurt their businesses and it has strained the relationship between the two cities.

"You know its like robbing your neighbor, and saying you can't do anything about it, but we're going to do it anyway. The relationship is damaged," said west Blount County business owner Ramond Seaver.

The sales tax ordinance is scheduled to go into effect in March.  Warrior City Councilors say they will re-visit the issue again at their meeting January 19.