Sales tax rates would vary across county if raise passes

Published 3:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2017

If the proposed sales tax to fund a new county jail is enacted, rates would range from a low of 7.5 percent to a high of 9.5 percent throughout Pike County.

The Pike County Commission is seeking legislative approval to levy a sales tax of up to 1.5 percent throughout the county and up to .5 percent inside Troy city limits to fund construction of a new jail. The tax is expected to generate $2.5 million annually and would cease upon repayment of all construction costs, officials have said.

County officials say the impact on taxpayers will depend on where they are in the county, as sales tax rates currently vary from a low of 6 percent in unincorporated areas of the county to a high of 9 percent inside Troy City limits.

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“For instance, Banks has a sales tax of 7 percent,” said District 4 Commissioner Chad Copeland. “What this bill would do is it would allow us to levy a sales tax of up to 1.5 percent outside of Troy and .5 percent in Troy. So it wouldn’t bring Banks or some other places outside Troy to 9.5 percent.”

Instead, Banks’ rate would increase to 8.5 percent. Brundidge and Goshen, which both have current rates of 8 percent, would increase to 9.5 percent.

Debra Gibson, chief financial officer for Pike County, broke down the sales tax rate.  “The state collects 4 percent,” Gibson said. “The county sales tax is 2 percent.”

The combined taxes mean the total sales tax in Pike County is 6 percent, which is what the sales tax rate is in unincorporated areas of the county, Gibson said. Different cities and towns within the county raise their own sales tax on top of that 6 percent.

Troy levies a 3 percent sales tax and Brundidge and Goshen each levy a 2 percent sales tax. This brings the total sales tax rates to 9 percent in Troy and 8 percent in Brundidge and Goshen.

Of the county’s existing 2 percent sales tax, Administrator Harry Sanders said $150,000 a year goes to a list of designated agencies. The city and county school system then split 75 percent of what’s left, Sanders said, and the county gets the remaining 25 percent.

Additionally, Troy cuts its sales tax rate in half for purchases made in Troy’s police jurisdiction but outside of its corporate limits according to Troy City Clerk Alton Starling.

In Troy, 1 percent goes to Troy Regional Medical Center and the other 2 percent goes to the City.