Chelsea approves one percent sales tax increase

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

The Chelsea City Council approved a one percent sales tax increase during its May 7 meeting.

The increase will raise Chelsea’s sales tax to 9 percent and generate about $100,000 each month. In a pre-council meeting, Mayor Earl Niven said the increase will take effect July 1.

“This is a great time for the city of Chelsea,” he said.

The revenue will be used to fund approximately $10 million worth of capital projects and accompanying costs over several years, including the widening and paving of King’s Home Road, the modification of the Shelby County 47 and Shelby County 39 intersection and the construction of a community center and recreational facilities.

However, one of the city’s intended uses for the additional revenue may stall. The Chelsea City Council hoped to purchase 423 acres of land from the city of Pelham for the creation of a park and other purposes.

Niven said Pelham Mayor Gary Waters broached the idea of the two municipalities creating a joint park during a phone conversation about six weeks ago.

“I called him about de-annexing (the 423 acres),” Niven said. “He indicated he wanted to get together to talk about a joint venture, but there was no interest here.”

Niven said joint ventures between municipalities work for some projects, such as providing mutual aid with fire stations, but would be too difficult for a park.

He also said the city intends to build a park with Chelsea’s long-term growth in mind.

In a pre-council meeting, council members voiced their opposition to a joint park.

“(One park) is not enough to serve the needs of two different communities,” council member Dale Neuendorf said.

In other business, the council voted to approve an approximately $25,000 bid from Shirley Brothers Excavating for the foundation of new tennis courts on Highway 51.

Neuendorf voted against the proposal, saying he approved of building tennis courts, but felt the city would be better served long term to build the courts adjacent to the proposed community center.