Commission to vote on tax increase Monday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 10, 2007

Attorneys for the Butler County Commission and Board of Education will be busy the next few days working out the legalities of an ordinance to increase sales tax by a half-cent in the county.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the sales tax increase during its Monday meeting at 8:30 a.m.

County attorney Calvin Poole said he had received a sample ordinance from the law firm of Burr & Forman in Montgomery, who the Board is considering using as attorneys for the issuance of a $25 million capital improvement bond. During Thursday's commission workshop Poole said he had concerns with the document, particularly the taxing of items he felt the commission did not want taxed as part of the half-cent increase.

&#8220This ordinance calls for the taxing of things like theatres, athletic events, arts council programs, golfing feesŠcorrect me if I'm wrong but I don't think you want these taxed with this increase,” said Poole.

The commission has the power to levy additional sales tax if it is to be used for educational purposes, a statute enacted by the state legislature since Butler County residents last went to the polls in 1986 and voted a one cent sales tax increase to be shared by schools and the county's general fund. It was Poole's understanding that the half-cent tax increase would include those taxable items covered in the same ordinance from 1986.

The commission agreed with Poole.

&#8220I don't think we should add anything to the ordinance that's not currently being taxed,” said Commissioner Glenn King.

Superintendent Mike Looney expressed a willingness to resolve any issues the commission had concern about prior to Monday's meeting.

&#8220We're willing to attach any additional resources to this and craft an ordinance that meets this commission's needs,” he said.

The McKenzie City Council and Georgiana City Council have each voted to raise sales tax by one-cent within their corporate limits.

With Gov. Bob Riley asking legislators for to approve an $850 million construction bond for state schools, Looney said it is in Butler County's best interest to act quickly at the local level.

&#8220We need to precede the Governor's bond issue,” he said. &#8220If not, we won't be able to find a contractor or builder at a reasonable price to focus on our projects.”