Sales tax resolution on commission agenda

Published 3:00 am Friday, June 23, 2017

The Pike County Commission is set to tackle a sales tax resolution at it’s Monday meeting, but county attorney Allen Jones said the commission will likely take more time before passing anything.

“There’s no rush,” Jones said. “The first priority is to get it fair and right.”

The commission was authorized by the Legislature to levy a temporary sales tax of up to 1.5 percent across Pike County except within the City of Troy, where the upper limit is .5 percent.

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The sales tax is also limited to funding construction of a new jail or jail complex and is set to expire whenever the costs of construction are paid off.

But Jones said there are still many details of the plan to work out, such as businesses protected by statutes.

“Car dealers, heavy equipment dealers and vending machine operators you can’t go up but half a percent, so they’ve got to decide if they even want to exempt them,” Jones said. “Other than your house, your next largest purchase usually is a car and your local car dealers are in competition with Montgomery, Enterprise, Ozark, Dothan– half a percent on a $50,000 car could make a difference on a sale or not. We’re not trying to do anyone a favor, but you also get the sales tax back with more sales so it’s a wash… Those are things they’ve got to toss around.”

Jones said the argument to get the sales tax started sooner is to go ahead and begin collecting the money sooner, but he said that won’t truly affect how long the tax stays on.

“It can begin now, but it’s going to end at the same time whether you start it in six months or now,” Jones said. “It’s going to end when the jail payment is finished. However long it takes to get it right and think through and implement it, it’s not going to make any difference effectively in the end because you’re not going to stop the tax until the jail is paid for. So if you start it now or in two months, it doesn’t really make a difference.”

Jones said he is not yet sure whether he’ll even have a resolution drafted for Monday’s meeting or if it will just be up for discussion. If he does have a resolution though, he says it will have a variety of options for the commission to consider.

The commission will meet Monday to discuss the issue along with others upstairs at the Pike County Health Department. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. followed by the commission meeting at 6 p.m.