By Alton Mitchell
As members of LaFayette’s city council weigh on the impact a possible sales tax increase may have on the city of LaFayette and its residents questions have risen as to how the possible one cent sales tax increase may feel and be accepted by residents and how it compares to other municipalities across the area.
Residents in LaFayette have enjoyed one of the lowest sales tax rates in Chambers County for a long period of time. The city presently has a sales tax rate of nine percent. Larger cities in the County such as Valley and Lanett both share a sales tax rate of ten percent. That higher sales tax in the two most urbanized cities in the County is a reason that LaFayette leadership feels the increase in local sales tax maybe accepted openly by LaFayette residents.
The lowest tax rate in Chambers County is in the town of Five Points which has a sales tax rate of eight percent. Nearby Fredonia has an equal tax rate to LaFayette at nine percent. For some LaFayette residents when local business don’t meet the need of products which they wish to purchase traveling to a neighboring county or city may serve the need better. In the nearby city of Roanoke in Randolph County residents pay a ten percent sales tax much like Valley and Lanett.
Driving to some of east Alabama’s largest population centers such as Opelika, Phenix City and Auburn residents will pay a nine-percent sales tax rate. While driving to Alexander City to the north residents easily pay the ten percent sales tax. While Dadeville residents offer a slightly lower rate at nine and a half percent.
Alabama’s largest city Birmingham has a rate of nine percent while the second largest city Montgomery has a ten percent sales tax rate. As the population continues to drop slightly in Alabama’s third largest city, Mobile, residents pay ten and a half percent sales tax rate. Lower rates are found in Alabama’s fourth largest city Huntsville, where sales tax rate are comparable to LaFayette at nine percent.
LaFayette city councilman Michael Ellis introduced the idea of a possible sales tax increase as well as Sunday alcohol sales last month at a city council meeting. Ellis cited some of the projects taking place in the city such as the revitalization of downtown and public projects like the streetscape and McClendon building construction as a reason for the need of a sales tax increase. Ellis sees the extra revenue generated as a sustainable way to fund needed projects around the city not just through revitalization efforts, but also on needs of the city as they may arise.
LaFayette is not the only municipality to look at increasing sales tax in this area. Several local governments recently increased sales tax to better fund local projects. Those include Randolph County which rose from six percent to six and a half percent. Residents of Wadley also have seen a recent increase from nine percent to nine and a half percent. Wedowee rose from nine and a half percent to a full ten percent.
There is no word yet as to how soon the city council may actually vote on the possible sales tax increase. On last week council members held a work session to discuss the possible tax increase as well as Sunday alcohol sales and how it may impact the city and its residents. Councilors agreed that public input would definitely be needed before any decision will be