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County sales tax bill sent to state

The Chilton County Commission voted in favor of sending a bill to the Alabama State Legislature asking for the approval of a sales tax during its meeting on Feb. 26.

The bill proposes a 1 percent sales tax in all incorporated areas of the county and a 2 percent sales tax in the unincorporated areas.

“Levying a tax on our citizens is not something we take lightly,” Commissioner Steve Langston said. “There are times when the upside of a project is so great that we must ask the community to contribute to ensure its success.”

Commissioner Jimmie Hardee presented the bill to the Commission and asked for a resolution, which passed with a 5-1 vote. Joe Headley opposed, while Joseph Parnell abstained due to his family having business in agriculture.

“We have watched as neighboring counties and other areas of the state have progressed while we have been left behind,” Hardee said. “We knew that this was the time for us to move our county forward.”

The increase is earmarked to help out the county’s infrastructure, public safety and economic development.

“This project is expected to bring over $83.5 million in visitor spending to our county,” Hardee said. “It will create over 2,000 jobs during the construction phase alone and generate well over $5 million annually in sales and lodging taxes for Chilton County.”

If passed at the state level, the tax will go into affect at the beginning of the third quarter of the 2019 fiscal year.

An exemption has been put in place for big-ticket items, such as car dealerships and agricultural businesses.

The Commission meeting took place immediately following the announcement of the plan in place to build the Alabama Farm Center at ALFA Centennial Park on property at Exit 212.

One thing that was clearly stated by the Commission was that they are not solely constructing a building for ALFA, but instead view it as making an investment for the future.

“This will be a game-changer for our county,” Vice Chairman Matt Mims said. “As we move forward with the [Alabama] Farm Center and other projects, the opportunities and benefits that will become available for the youth of our county and for Central Alabama will be none like we have ever seen.”

A revenue roundtable provided the research from around the state that was used in the creation of the bill.

According to a press release, the bill has the support of Rep. Jimmy Martin.

“Although it is hard to vote for any tax upon the people, it is necessary for growth,” Martin said.