Jackson County leaders push for one-cent sales tax increase

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. - Jackson County leaders say they're in money trouble. They're pushing for another one-cent sales tax for roads and the county jail but both business owners and state leaders are saying 'no way'.

"I understand the shortfalls, but as a business owner, how can I say, 'yeah, let's be taxed again'?" Back Porch Pickin' owner Adam Styles said.

At a Monday evening forum for neighbors, county leaders and state legislators Tommy Hanes, Ritchie Whorton, and Steve Livingston were covering familiar territory on the need for road funding and county services.

Right now, shoppers in Scottsboro pay nine cents in sales tax.  Four cents of that money goes to the state's education trust fund. Three cents goes to the city of Scottsboro and two cents to Jackson County Schools.

The county suffered around $6 million in flood damage last year, and county leaders say they're hesitant to borrow the funds from FEMA.

"We don't have the finances to service that debt," said Commissioner Jason Venable.

County leaders are asking for another penny to pay for road funding and hiring more workers at the sheriff's office and the county jail. But voters already rejected the same proposal four years ago.

"That penny starts adding up pretty quick," Stiles said.

"We made it very clear that they wouldn't have the money in their coffers if they had the one cent sales tax today," state representative Tommy Hanes said.

County Commissioner Tim Guffey says this year, Jackson County will receive nearly $600,000 from the recently passed gas tax. He says that's enough to repave nine miles of Jackson County's over 1,100 miles of roads.

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