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New sales tax starts Jan. 1

Retail sales tax in Covington County will increase by a half-cent on Monday.

The Covington County Commission unanimously approved the half-cent, county-wide sales tax for education in October.

The measure was formally requested by the Covington County Board of Education in September, following months of discussion. Board members cited a concern that federal dollars for education will be cut.

In exchange for their approval of the measure, commissioners asked the school board to take on more of the costs associated with having resource officers from the Covington County Sheriff’s Department in the county schools.

Early estimates were that the half-cent, county-wide tax would generate $2.1 million for schools. Alabama law requires that the monies be split according to school population, which means at present, 51.5 percent would go to the county; 31.55 percent to Andalusia; and 26.8 percent to Opp.

All merchants in the county will begin collecting the tax on Jan. 1, 2018. The tax monies will be remitted to the county for distribution in February.

The measure adds a half-cent sales tax to consumer purchases, and a quarter-cent tax to automobile and farm equipment purchases.