Chelsea passes 1-cent sales tax increase

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CHELSEA, Ala. (WIAT) — On Tuesday, the city of Chelsea unanimously passed a one-cent sales tax increase.

Prior to the vote, the city council opened the floor for a public hearing, but no one spoke for–or against–the measure.

The proposed increase would generate an estimated $1.5 million per year that would be earmarked solely for needs of the schools in Chelsea.

Mayor Tony Picklesimer explained he had been speaking with educators and parents since the last public hearing. One parent, in particular, caught his ear.

“He said, but it sure sounds an awful lot like a sports tax to me,” Picklesimer said, “and that hit me right between the eyes.”

Those conversations resulted in a new option for spending the funds generated by the one-cent sales tax.

“We put together a grant program that I named ‘The Nick Program’ after that dad,” Picklesimer said, “where each and every teacher will be apply to apply for everything from items for the gifted program, band instruments, laptop computers, printers–to fixing the restrooms at the football field, putting new tracks down.”

CBS 42 asked Picklesimer if all of the funding generated by the sales tax would go into this grant program.

“All of the money that’s collected from the sales tax will go into a separate account that will be designated for the schools,” he explained. “Most of the money that will be spent out of it will be a result of grant applications. There will be–I would imagine–some special requests from administrators–such as for facility upgrades and repairs that wouldn’t necessarily go through the grant committee, but the bulk of the money will be spent through the grant committee.”

The grant committee is made up of the father for whom the program is named and two other middle school parents. Picklesimer said the five principals have already been given the grant application forms.

The tax is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1.

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