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ENTERPRISE, AL (WSFA) -
The city council in Enterprise is considering a half-cent increase on local sales tax.
It's only a small increase, but it could raise millions of dollars. If approved the money would go to the Enterprise City School System.
The sales tax in Enterprise will go from 8.5 to 9 percent, if the Enterprise City Council passes the proposal.
The half-cent increase would generate $16 million to help fund an improvement plan for Enterprise City Schools.
The school system will have to put up an additional $10 million, but the city would forgive a $7 million debt that the school system owes the city.
The improvement plans include security checkpoints and storm shelters at schools that do not currently have them. There is also the possibility for a new junior high school.
A portion of the half-cent sales tax will also be earmarked to fill equipment and manpower needs for first responders in the city. The school system and city say this is necessary.
"It's an investment into our community," said Kenneth Boswell, Mayor of Enterprise. "I don't know that there is any cons from an aspect that we not only have to look at the present, but we have to look at our future. We have to be prepared for what may occur."
"We are trying to project 20 years down the road," said Dr. Camille Wright, Superintendent of Enterprise City Schools. "We feel like students that are coming into kindergarten this year will graduate in 2026, and we kind of have to think about what they need when they get out. So we are trying to project 15 to 20 years down the road in our building plans."
What would the increase mean for residence? It equals a five cent increase on a $10 purchase.
The sales tax increase proposal was introduced at Tuesday's city council meeting. Council members will vote on it at the next city council meeting.
If the increase is approved, it's estimated to bring in about $2 million more per year for the school system. The proposed sales tax would be in effect for the next 20 years.