Wetumpka city council approves sale tax increase

After weeks of discussion, the Wetumpka city council approved a one-cent sales tax increase at Monday night’s meeting.

With a vote of four to one, the overall sales tax is set to increase to nine percent. Wetumpka leaders say even with the increase, the citys sale tax is still one of the lowest rates in the River Region.

Mayor Jerry Willis says the city's revenue is up $400,000 in 10 years, while their expenses have gone higher. Willis also says the city has been spending out of reserves for finances over the years, depleting a lot of those reserves.
This increase will help build those funds back. It also allows the city to help businesses wanting to move in, according to Willis.
Leaders also hope to give city employees their first pay increase in about five years.

The cost of living has continued to go up, and their salaries have not, Willis said. So, from our police officers to our firefighters to our public works officials, our secretaries. All of them across the board we carry right now about 120 some odd employees. So that would cost us, an increase for them, we're somewhere in the four to five percent range, we're adjusting our pay scales. That's going to be about 480 thousand dollars to do that, but it's time to do it."

The lone no vote for the measure was councilman Steve Gantt.
Gantt says he was going along with citizen's requests to delay the vote, so they could go over issues
Officials say the tax increase will go into effect in September.

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