Sunday sales, jail tax bills moving at Capitol Hill

Published 3:00 am Friday, May 5, 2017

A local bill that would authorize the Troy City Council to hold a referendum on the sale of alcohol on Sundays has made it to the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey according to Sen. Jimmy Holley.

Holley said the bill moved through the State Legislature about as quickly as possible.

“After you get it advertised it can happen in five legislative days,” Holley said.

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The bill would authorize the council to set up a referendum that if passed would allow Sunday alcohol sales in the city limits beginning at noon. It would also give the council authority to set parameters within that framework by city ordinance instead of needing to come back through the State Legislature.

Hollley said two other local bills requested by the Pike County Commission to authorize them to levy a sales tax and raise court costs to fund the construction and operation of a new jail are already in the Senate as well.

The bills passed the House late Wednesday night according to Rep. Alan Boothe.

“We were able to get it on the calendar, get it up and get it out,” Boothe said. “There was no need to wait; it needed to get passed as quickly as possible.

“We’ve done our job and now it’s up to the Senate,” Boothe said. “It’s up to Sen. Holley now to get them passed.”

The first bill would authorize the Pike County Commission to levy a sales tax of up to .5 percent in the City of Troy and 1.5 percent elsewhere in the county. This move is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to generate approximately $2.5 million in revenue each year.

The official sales tax rate in Pike County is 6 percent. The State collects 4 percent and the county collects 2 percent. Of that 2 percent, $150,000 is taken off the top annually for a list of agencies. The city and county school systems split 75 percent of what’s left and the county gets the remaining 25 percent.

The cities and towns within the county then charge varying rates on top of that.

The sales tax increase is earmarked for the exclusive purpose of funding the construction of the new jail and is set to terminate the month following the full payment of related financing.

The other county bill will raise court costs by $35 and also add a $500 charge to those convicted of selling or trafficking drugs in the county. If passed, the costs and fees are projected to raise $200,000 a year.