Prattville City Council postpones vote on renewing 1-cent sales tax
PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - The Prattville City Council has tabled the vote on whether or not to renew the city’s 1-cent sales tax.
The tax would continue to bring in around $6 million to $7 million a year to the city. The council decided to push back the vote to give them time to work on where that money would go. The measure will come up again at the July 6 council meeting.
The postponed vote would not have increased nor decreased sales taxes for Prattville residences. It would have simply renewed the current 1-cent tax that has been in place since 2011.
For the past 10 years, the tax was used to pay off the city’s debt. Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie pushed for the 1-cent tax increase in March 2011 when the city was in over $62 million in debt after investments the city made in the mid-2000s that were disrupted by changes in the U.S. economy in 2008.
“Especially retail, lots of retail that we were hoping to attract did not necessarily come through because it was a hard time nationally,” said Prattville City Council President Pro Tempore Lora Lee Boone.
The 1-cent tax was earmarked to be in place until 2031 to pay off the debt, but according to Boone, the tax has done it’s job early, and the debt is expected to be payed off by around September. In 10 years the tax has generated over $57 million.
Boone said all seven council members have expressed support for renewing the tax.
“I feel like it is very well supported both from the public and from the council as meeting needs through money that’s already coming in. We won’t have to have any change in the city of Prattville,” Boone said. “If it (the tax) were to sunset, all of our retailers would have to go back and reset cash machines, would have to reset all of their equipment in order to change a tax. This is just going to be a continuation of what’s already being paid.”
There is still a lot of discussion surrounding what the money would be used for. According to Boone, some of the departments the City Council is looking at dividing the money into include education, parks and recreation, infrastructure and public facilities. Boone also said the council is looking at putting some of the money into a city reserve fund.
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