Sales tax going up Jan. 1

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, shoppers in Brewton will begin paying an additional 1 cent in taxes after members of the Brewton City Council approved the increase by a 4 to 1 vote during Tuesday’s meeting.
Councilman Pat Poole cast the lone vote against raising the taxes to 4 cents on purchases at retail outlets.
No comments were made during the meeting, but previously, Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace said the increase in tax revenue was needed since reserve funding for the city had been depleted during tough economic times over the past several years.
“The city has lived off reserves since the recession hit,” Lovelace said. “Nobody expected the recession to last this long. It’s time now to build up the reserves for the gas department, for the sewer bond debt service and for the general fund.”
City Clerk John Angel said retail merchants would begin charging 9 cents in sales taxes beginning Jan. 1.
“The amount breaks down to 4 cents for the city, 1 cent for the county and 4 cents for state,” Angel said. “The city would get the entire one cent in this increase. None of the new tax would go to the schools or anything else. The additional one cent would go directly to the city.”
The ordinance approved increasing the city sales tax stated the increase was necessary “due to the current economic climate” the increase was made in order to “assure future operations.”
In other business, the council
• Agreed to waive the ordinance prohibiting the use of fireworks within the city limits in a limited agreement.
“The city has an ordinance in place that would prohibit the use of fireworks for the annual Blueberry Drop,” Angel said. “In order to have the fireworks display, I recommend that we waive the ordinance only for the Blueberry Drop at the site on Persimmon Street for that evening only.”
• Approved a lounge retail liquor license for Ole Henry’s, an establishment that will occupy the former American Legion building on U.S. 31 South. Listed as license holders for the establishment were Sylvia Curtiss and William Bobby Ray Henry.
• Approved the list of alcohol license holders for the city for the 2013 year. Current license holders, including the newly approved Ole Henry’s were unanimously approved.
• Approved an agreement for the Municipal Workers Compensation to include an annual driver’s license check of all employees, a viable drug program in place and an established medical protocol on any employee accidents. Angel said the agreement would mean a 1- percent discount on annual workers compensation premiums for the city to the tune of over $60,000.
• Approved a request from Kathy McMillan made on behalf of residents along Evergreen Avenue to display luminaries along the street on Dec. 8 and 9 from 5 to 8 each evening.
• Agreed to suspend the second December meeting of the council since the date falls on Christmas Day.

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