Jackson County Commission sets date for one cent sales tax proposal vote, looks to options if vote fails

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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) — Tuesday night the Jackson County Commission is voting on a resolution that would set the date for the one cent sales tax proposal election.

“The legislature passed and the governor signed our sales tax bill,” Commission Chair Matthew Hodges says.

Hodges says the next step is to set a date for the election on the one cent sales tax proposal.

Tuesday night, the commission plans to do that. “We will vote to set the referendum date,” Hodges says.

Hodges says right now that date is August 18, which is earlier than the commission initially planned on. “It is a little earlier,” Hodges says, “We actually could have probably done it earlier than that, but we wanted to give some more time to get out and have a few more community meetings and talk with folks.”

Hodges says the election will cost the county money, but it’s an avenue county leaders feel they need to take in light of the situation. “It’s something that has to be done. It’s worth taking that challenge and that risk to see if we can get this done,” Hodges says.

Commissioners say the funds for the election have been set aside for that purpose.

The commission has been dealing with a substantial budget deficit for months. The deficit has decreased considerably, as the commission made some changes to several county operations.

However, because of that, the county is already running on a slim operation. That’s why the commission is looking to the one cent sales tax proposal to pass, as officials say it will bring in much-needed revenue.

County leaders say if the vote doesn’t pass the county will have to make cuts.

“Initial cuts would come from any appropriations that we do, so we have appropriations still to libraries, rescue squads, a few state offices, any of those places that we can cut we’re going to make those cuts first,” Hodges says.

Hodges says other areas in the county might have to be cut as well, like public works.

He says closing the courthouse down one day a week is an also option. “Which is going to be hard for employees, but again, we’ve got to do something to keep the operation going, and of course, we just can’t with the dollars that we have.”

County officials say in the future if the county is presented with a new revenue source it will pursue it, but if the residents vote “no” on the one cent sales tax proposal, the county needs to look at how it will function immediately moving forward.

The county has been holding community meetings for residents to learn more about the one cent sales tax proposal. Commissioners say they plan to continue those meetings through the summer.