Few turn out for special Calera meeting on proposed city sales tax
By MOLLIE BROWN/For the Reporter
CALERA — A special Calera City Council meeting on March 25 to discuss a proposed one-cent sales tax increase met with low citizen turnout.
The tax increase will, if approved by the council, provide funding for city personnel to meet staffing requirements, completion of the park complex next to Calera High School and provide matching funds needed to widen the bridge at I-65 exit 231.
Mayor Jon Graham opened the floor for questions to the approximately 10 residents in attendance. Resident Mike Bullard asked for a projection of costs for all projects. An overview of costs, located on the home page of the city’s website, Cityofcalera.org, indicates projected costs monthly to fund all projects is $117,000. Projected average additional revenues from a one-cent sales tax increase monthly are $155,692.
Resident Don Miller voiced his concern about fire protection on Shelby County 42 and asked if the increase would make an impact on the fire station located on Alabama 25. Graham said the increase would provide for the purchase of a fire engine and staff an engine company to operate the station.
Retired Shelby County Board of Education personnel director Rebecca Nail favors the tax increase. She asked if the increase could be used to provide additional security in our schools. Graham directed the question to Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley.
“I met with the board of education a couple weeks ago and they assured me they’re working on securing our schools,” Lemley said. “What we’re doing as a police department is all of our officers are actively walking through our schools periodically on a daily basis, but that’s sporadic, based on call volume.”
Mayor Pro-tem David Bradshaw said he is undecided about his vote. “I’m waiting to hear what’s on the minds of our residents before making a decision,” he said. “My mind is open to ideas residents have to fund these projects without increased sales tax.”
In other business, City Engineer Chris Pappas asked for $38,489 to purchase a Kubota tractor for field grading of the new athletic fields. He said it would cost $200,000 – $250,000 if the job is contracted. The council voted unanimously to purchase the tractor, with the exception of Bobby Joe Phillips, who was absent.
The third and final special meeting to gather public input on the proposed sales tax is Monday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m. at Calera City Hall.