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Trinity returns to 8% sales and rental tax

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com · 340-2438

TRINITY — The Trinity Town Council on Monday voted 4-2 to return to the 8 percent sales and rental tax, with the 1-cent increase on both earmark-ed for infrastructure. The increases become effective Oct. 1.

The council lowered the taxes to 7 percent several months after Decatur hiked its tax to 9 percent on Sept. 12, 2001. Trinity’s motive was to induce a friendlier business atmosphere.

Before making the motion, Councilman Richard Fortson asked for verification that the increase would go toward road maintenance.

“For that reason only, I will make the motion,” he said.

But Councilmen Bruce Sparkman and his son, Richie Sparkman, believe it might be a step backward.

“We’ve gained by having the tax at 7 percent,” Bruce Sparkman said. “I believe it would continue to lure businesses and bring increased revenue.”

As an example, he pointed to Dollar General Store on Old Alabama 24, which celebrates grand opening Saturday morning, and other businesses he said are interested in Trinity.

“It looks like we’ll have about a 20 percent increase on revenues for this year,” Richie Sparkman said. “And I haven’t seen anything specific as to what the earmarked funds will go toward.”

Fortson advocated a five-year plan, and the council agreed to develop it by Oct. 8.

“This money will not be used for building roads but for trying to bring what we have back up to standard,” said Mayor Vaughn Goodwin.

“Raising taxes is something no one wants to do. We’ve been tossing numbers around, and this is the only place we know to get additional revenue for road upgrades that might be a fair tax. I don’t look at it as raising taxes but putting them back to where we were five years ago.”

The rental tax is only a minor source of revenue in Trinity. For example, it applies to a tax on rental equipment and businesses such as video rental.

Goodwin said the tax hike doesn’t bind the next administration, which takes office in 2008.

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