Public input on proposed sales tax increase in Chelsea

Business

CHELSEA, Ala (WIAT) — Chelsea city council and Mayor Tony Picklesimer are proposing a 1 cent sales tax increase that would go towards school capitol projects.

Right now, the sales tax is 9%, but they’re proposing it be raised to 10%, which means buyers in Chelsea would pay 10 cents per dollar spent.

Picklesimer said this isn’t about fixing the school academically because they’re already excelling in that. He said it’s about repairs and helping teachers with school supplies.

“We have the middle school track that needs to be resurfaced. The visitors restroom at the high school football stadium has been out of order for years. We have portable restrooms there. Our teachers are buying school supplies at the first of year out of their own pockets, paying for copies to be made. We would like to give a $500 stipend to all 297 classroom teachers at the beginning of the year,” said Picklesimer.

The money from this tax proposal is estimated to bring in $1.5 million per year, and the mayor said the money will only be used for school funds, specifically the 5 schools in Chelsea that are under the Shelby County school system.

Those who are in favor said they’re always happy to help students.

“We want to do our part and a sales tax increase of 1% is a small price to pay to help the students and teachers meet some needs that Shelby County will not meet,” said Connie Gilliland, a Chelsea resident.

Those who are against said they already had a city sales tax increase in 2013 and are going to adjust to the Alabama gas tax increase in September, so this is a bit much.

“Currently we already have shoppers in the community that are leaving our community to go to other areas and spend money on things we could actually bring to Chelsea, so I would say the administration needs to encourage new businesses to come in to the community and by default the tax revenue would go up because we’re keeping that money at home,” said Samuel Mann, a Chelsea resident.

“I think it’s a horrible idea. I think for a long term solution, you want more business. Anything that is going to attract it by sending the brand for Chelsea is being pro-business, and I think this will send the wrong message,” said Alan Atchison, a Chelsea resident.

Chelsea city council will hold a public hearing on Tuesday at Chelsea City Hall at 6 p.m.

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