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Trinity considers 8 percent sales tax

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com 340-2438

TRINITY — After five years of manipulating budgets with a lower sales tax than most area communities, some Trinity leaders appear ready to consider a return to an 8 percent sales tax.

At Tuesday's council meeting, Councilman Tony Jones made a motion to increase the tax from 7 percent with the penny hike earmarked for road maintenance.

"We don't have enough money to maintain our roads and to help offset the growth we're looking at," Jones said. "Traffic is going to be doubling."

After discussion, Mayor Vaughn Goodwin suggested a public hearing to give residents a chance for input. Jones made a motion to set the hearing for the next council meeting, July 9, at 7 p.m.

The motion carried on a 3-1 vote with Councilman Bruce Sparkman opposing. He said he believes the lower sales tax is an incentive to draw residents and businesses. Councilmen Richie Sparkman and Mark Brazelton were absent.

Trinity dropped its sales tax a cent in the first half of 2002, several months after Decatur increased its sales tax a penny to 9 percent.

The tax increase consideration comes after Trinity, according to Goodwin, had a 44 percent hike in sales tax collections over last year.

"I want to know how our residents feel before we do anything," Councilman Richard Fortson said.

And while Goodwin made a case for why Trinity needs the tax increase, he said, "If we hear residents with a better idea, we'll take it and run with it."

The mayor said Mountain Home Road is a good example of where the funding needs to go for road improvement.

"Mountain Cove subdivision is being developed on Mountain Home, and we already have two other subdivisions on that road, Blakely Estates and Hidden Creek," he said.

"Also, there's going to be a lot more traffic on Old Alabama 24 in front of West Morgan Elementary School with Stone Village subdivision going in beside the school. We've got to start making road improvements to keep up with our residential growth."

Goodwin said repaving Mountain Home Road alone would cost "up to $200,000, and we've got to come up with some extra funding to do that."

Goodwin said there's a possibility that the council could vote on the measure after the public hearing."If we approve the increase, it will take three months to put it into place, so it would take effect Oct. 1," he said.

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