JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. – Jackson County legislators are mulling over a couple of commission-approved tax increase options.
Commissioners approved to put forward both a one-cent increase and a half-cent increase so legislators have multiple options to choose from.
One cent would bring in around $6 million total. The half-cent option would give the county just over $2 million.
Some of a one-cent tax would go to municipalities, but the rest, which would be around $4.5 million, would go to the county.
“75 percent would go to roads and bridges. 12.5 percent would go to the sheriff’s department, I believe. and I think 12.5 percent went to county buildings and senior services and things like that,” said Jackson County Commission Chairman Tim Guffey.
He said those departments that have been having financial trouble for a while now.
“Our sheriff is probably at about 50 percent of the deputies that they should have. We’re at about 50 percent of the jailers that we should have. The Sheriff really needs more deputies on the road. Our citizens need more deputies because it ain’t right for the people that live in Jackson County to wait an hour and a half on a deputy to get to them, but it ain’t because we don’t want to get there, it’s because we don’t have the manpower to. And everybody knows our roads are falling apart,” explained Guffey.
Guffey said they have learned from the last time a proposed sales tax increase was on the ballot.
“The ones who voted against it said they would have voted for it if it would have been earmarked,” said Guffey.
He told WHNT News 19 a lot of the revenue will be from out-of-towners.
LaDeDa’s owner Martha Clarke told WHNT News 19 that she understands the need for a tax increase, but is worried it may hurt business.
“I think the half percent would probably go off better because when people are shopping, I’m already hearing a lot of slack that our sales is high,” said Clarke. “I know it’s only a half cent, but saying 9.5 versus 10, wow, that’ll make a difference.”
But Geraldine resident Donna Feazell is for the one cent raise.
“I travel from Geraldine to Scottsboro every day and so I’ve noticed the roads going down the mountain are really awesome and I think it’s great, so I’d like to see the roads in better shape. And I’m very pro law enforcement. I would like to see them be able to utilize funds in the way they need,” said Feazell.
Guffey said he is still waiting to hear a decision from area legislators.
He told WHNT News 19 that unless a special session is called, it may not be discussed at the legislature until 2022.