ALABASTER, Ala. (WIAT) – Fast Forward 2023-2024 is a vision by the city to help it level up to nearby sister cities when it comes to its tax rate while also helping to propel Alabaster forward as the city continues to grow.

One avenue Mayor Scott Brakefield and Chief Tim Love envision is by developing the city’s own EMS service. This is something Love said he has been working on doing for five years.

“Our job is to provide services for the citizens so we’ve just gotta do a little better,” Love said. “There is not enough units on the road to take care of the number of transports that need to happen.”

Right now, the city contracts out to Regional Medical Paramedical Services and Southeast Shelby County Emergency Medical Rescue. Love said occasionally on serious patients that wait time could be between 45 and 50 minutes, and there is a hospital already in the city.

“We have a hospital right here in the city it’s time we start looking for ways to do better,” Love said.

The problem is not unique to Alabaster. Brakefield said it could be fixed and expedited by raising the sales tax.

“Any time you talk about a sales tax increase it’s something that weighs on you heavily, it is a big concern,” Brakefield said.

If the increase goes into effect, the move would raise the current sales tax rate from nine cents to 10. Currently five percent of the tax goes to county and state, three percent to the city and one percent to Alabaster City Schools.

Currently, about 30 Central Alabama cities and 200 statewide align with a 10 cent rate.

Brakefield said it would generate nearly $7 million in revenue. It could even add an eighth SRO to the schools and allow more wiggle room to expedite trail and park expansion projects across the city.

“When young families move here, they want certain amenities that we just don’t simply have right now,” Brakefield said. “We love to shop Alabaster first, but we also know that we do different things in different cities, really this would bring us in line with our neighboring cities.”

Brakefield said other projects could include working with the railroad to create alert systems if a train is blocking a crossing in the city, connecting the parks in the city by a trail system, widening highway 119 and expanding the city library.

If Alabaster does increase the tax rate, it would likely generate nine new fire positions to create EMS. Love said it would take at least two years to take effect.

The public hearing is set for Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. You can have your voice heard at that meeting.

Learn more about the vision on the city’s social media pages.