Pelham City Council approves one-cent sales tax increase

Residents in Pelham are sharing concerns about increasing sales tax.
Residents in Pelham are sharing concerns about increasing sales tax.(WBRC)
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 5:56 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2023 at 5:57 PM CDT
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PELHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A one-cent sales tax increase has been approved in Pelham, an increase from nine percent to ten percent.

The increase passed in a three-two vote, during Monday night’s regularly scheduled council meeting.

“We hate to see taxes increase,” said Pelham resident Arlinda Jackson. “However, our infrastructure does need improvement and it is just one cent... I’m going to continue to purchase in Pelham where I live and continue to help the city grow.”

While some Pelham residents are understanding about the increase, others are against it. That’s what pushed two city councilors to vote against it: David Coram and Mildred Lanier.

“My approach to this being that it was a difficult decision was to reach out on social media, reach out in person with the citizens and say what do you want in this situation?” explained Coram. “By in large, the bulk of people I spoke to either online or in person said hey let’s take a pause on this, especially with our economy where it’s at. So that was my purpose in going with the no answer.”

“One of the biggest reasons I personally voted for it was to see the continued growth,” said Maurice Mercer, the city council president. “We see the tax increase as an opportunity to complete projects that we have on the board.”

“With this passing, we need to make sure these additional funds that are coming in are going to be maximized,” said Coram.

One of the intended projects is the Highway 52 train track flyover.

“Everybody is aware we received a $40 million grant but what some people are not aware, it does come with a $10 million match,” said Mercer.

The city says the funds will also be used to pay for projects around the city including improving EMS response, roadwork, trails, the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena as well as traffic signal updates.

“I encourage the citizens to hold us accountable,” said Mercer. “The projects that we’ve listed that we want done -- please, come to a city council meeting, get involved. Make sure that we are doing that and we’re being good stewards of the money.”

Mercer says the tax increase will be attached to retail goods only, not groceries. You’ll see that 1% increase, or one penny on every dollar, beginning in November.

Several council members say they plan to revisit the tax rate every year to see if the increase is still necessary based on city revenue.

The last time the city raised its sales tax was in 2013. That increase was used to provide funding for Pelham City Schools.

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