Opinion: Make your voice heard

Published 6:02 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

On Monday, Feb. 27, a public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. in Alabaster City Hall for residents to voice their opinion on an increase to the city’s sales tax. It is a divisive issue with sound reasoning on both sides which is why it is important for residents to make their voice heard and to discuss the subject amicably.

From one side of things, there is a legitimate reason as to why sales taxes can be seen as a regressive tax. Certain citizens are trying to make it from paycheck-to-paycheck, and an additional one cent can mean hundreds of dollars down the line for some citizens who could have better spent those funds on food and household amenities.

Some citizens may simply be satisfied with the current level of service that the local government is providing while others may feel that funds are already being misused and that the municipality should not receive more.

On the other hand, there is the perspective of the city. During a city council meeting on Feb. 13, Mayor Scott Brakefield provided a breakdown of the sales tax increase.

“When you look around the greater-Birmingham area of Central Alabama, you really see the vast majority of cities around us are above our 9-cent sales tax,” Brakefield said. “We really feel like moving from nine to 10 will bring us in line with our sister cities.”

Brakefield provided a breakdown on how the current sales tax revenue is distributed. A total of 5 percent goes to the county and state, 3 percent goes to the city and 1 percent goes to Alabaster City Schools. The proposed sales tax increase would provide an additional cent to the city.

With an additional one cent in revenue, the city can generate about $7 million to help fund various projects like the addition of an ambulance transport service to the fire department, the addition of an eighth school resource officer and more.

Such projects would ultimately benefit the general public of Alabaster with better access to emergency services and higher quality amenities.

“I think it reflects a lot of the projects that the council has requested that we know also needs to be done,” Council President Sophie Martin said. “And these are projects that not only are going to impact us now, but (these) are projects that are going to last a lifetime—years to come”

With the public hearing scheduled just around the corner, now is an important time for the citizens of Alabaster to weigh both sides of the issue and to offer an informed opinion.