Helena signs on with storm prep tax holiday

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Helena shoppers will be able to stock up on emergency preparedness items on July 6-8 without paying sales tax, as the Helena City Council recently voted to participate in the sales tax holiday.

During its June 11 meeting, the council voted to take part in the Alabama Department of Revenue’s first severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday.

“We as a city have been blessed with the fact that we haven’t been hit directly over the past few storm seasons,” said Councilwoman Cris Nelson. “But nobody ever plans for a disaster, because nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.”

Shelby County, Calera, Montevallo and Hoover also have agreed to waive their sales taxes during the three-day period.

Items less than $60 are included in the tax holiday, such as batteries, AAA-cell batteries, AA-cell batteries, C-cell batteries, D-cell batteries, 6-volt batteries and 9-volt batteries; cellular phone battery; cellular phone charger; portable self-powered or battery-powered radio, two-way radio, weather-band radio or NOAA weather radio; portable self-powered light source, including battery-powered flashlights, lanterns or emergency glow sticks; tarpaulin, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths and other flexible and waterproof sheeting; ground anchor system, such as bungee cords or rope, or tie-down kits; duct tape; plywood, window film or other materials specifically designed to protect window coverings; non-electric food storage cooler or water storage container; non-electric can opener; artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs and reusable ice; self-contained first aid kit; fire extinguisher; smoke detector; carbon monoxide detector; and gas or diesel fuel tank or containers.

Items with a sales price of $1,000 or less include portable generators and power cords.

Nelson said retailers such as Ace Hardware, Dollar General, Helena Hometown Pharmacy and Publix likely will see higher customer traffic during the tax holiday.

“I think it sets the precedent that we are willing to go along with this,” Nelson said.