PCC votes to extend sales tax

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 12, 2003

School funding may be endangered at the state level, but at least county funding for schools will remain stable - for the time being.

The Pike County Commission voted 4-0, with Commissioners Willie Thomas and Charlie Harris absent, to extend the 1-cent sales tax designed to fund city and county schools. The tax, which was set to expire Sept. 30, was extended for four years.

Hank Jones, Superintendent of Troy City Schools reacted by calling the commission's decision, "great news."

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"I am thrilled because, at this particular point in time, the Troy City School System could not survive without that additional 1-cent tax revenue," he said. "With the current state mess, we have become very dependent on those dollars that come from that tax."

The commission held a special meeting Feb. 17 to discuss the future of the tax, ultimately deciding not to ask the schools for 25 percent of the tax revenue.

The 1-cent sales tax will remain in effect until 2007.

"We need to extend it for four years so our schools can do some financial planning," said Commission Chair Karen Berry.

The commission also voted to approve the sale of three tri-axle dump trucks to Pyramid Equipment Company of Phenix City for $77,711 each. To replace them, the commissioners approved the purchase of three new trucks from Gulf Coast Truck and Equipment Company of Montgomery for $87,730. With the addition of hitches and tires to the new trucks, the total cost will be $88,985. The commission also voted to purchase three new F-250 pick-up trucks.

In other business, the repairs to the historic mill bridge near Shellhorn are still delayed, said County Engineer Herbert Huner. Huner told the commission that the repairs to the bridge, which collapsed after torrential rains, "are still tied up with the historic commission."

The bridge was the site of a mill that has been designated a historic site by the Alabama Historical Commission.

"I know it's taking a long time, but you don't seem to be able to be able to rush these people too much," Huner said.

Huner responded to Berry's queries about the repair project. Berry cited complaints from residents in the area who have been forced to take detours around the collapsed bridge and are anxious for the repairs to be completed.

The commission approved numerous travel requests for county employees for a variety of summer conferences and summits. Several employees were also given customary anniversary pay raises awarded upon the anniversary of their employment.

Don Crapps, head of the Troy Arts Council, was appointed to the board of East Central Mental Health-Mental Retardation.

The next Pike County Commission meeting will be held June 9.