Reality check for Prattville

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Connie Dismukes was a bit nervous about the penny-hike sales tax in Prattville, worried what it might do to her business of only two years.

"Not being part of a chain is a struggle too," said Dismukes.

It turns out Dismukes is doing 'okay,' sales up 2%.

Merchants in Prattville have until the 20th of each month to mail in their previous month's sales tax. In Prattville's case, Monday, June 20th.. was the first reporting of sales tax revenues since the new sales tax became effective May 1, going from 8 and a half to 9 and a half percent.

"The numbers look very, very promising," said Mayor Bill Gillespie.

The mayor says the city collected $1.86 million one year ago. That was the figure collected for the entire month of May 2010. Mayor Gillespie is certain Prattville will receive more than that for the May of this year.

"We're starting to see an upward trend in the sales tax and the wastewater surcharge," said Mayor Gillespie.

Add in the layoffs and the furloughs, the mayor is convinced city leaders will be able to make a healthy dent in the overall debt which stands at about $55 million.

Looking back the mayor knew pushing for the sales tax increase and fees was very unpopular but felt he had no choice. As to how long the sales tax increase will remain on the books, the mayor says it depends how much they'll be able to whittle down the debt but will look at it one year from now.

"I allowed the numbers to take me where I needed to go. I felt we made an adult decision after we got adult information. It was politically incorrect but it had to be done," said the mayor.

It's impossible to know how all the merchants are doing in this town of 30,000 plus and even the mayor admitted won't have a true picture for at least a week or so.

Still, Mayor Bill Gillespie feels good, so does Connie Dismukes.

"Nobody likes to pay higher taxes but nobody likes to do without," said Dismukes.

Both taking one month at a time.

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