Gardendale approves sales tax increase

GARDENDALE, AL (WBRC) - By Sherea Harris

GARDENDALE, AL (WBRC) - No one wants to hear about paying more taxes, but that will be the case if you shop in Gardendale in the near future. The city council passed a sales tax increase Monday night.

A lot of residents and business owners are fired up. It's a one cent increase.

Shoppers will soon pay 10% on the dollar in Gardendale.

The extra money will pay allow the city to pay off debt, fund a library expansion program, and help with recruiting new businesses to the city.

But lots of citizens say because of the economy the tax hike is wrong and unnecessary.

At the council meeting, one Gardendale resident said, "We have to make the most of every penny and dime we have. You are hurting a lot of people in the community."

The vote even left the mayor disappointed. Mayor Othell Phillips says the city is not in dire financial straits. That's why he can't support raising taxes.

Phillips said, "Think the economy is going to turn around. We have six million dollars in reserve and we cut the budget $900,000. That's where we are we just could not agree."   

Councilor Faith Harper voted for  the tax hike. She said, "Being a sales tax only economy we have no property tax. We rely on sales tax revenue and when they are in decline, but our long term debt is the same, that math equation does not work."

The sales tax increase takes effect in January 2011 and will continue for four years. It will go return to 9%.

The additional penny will generate $2.3 million a year for the city.

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