Russellville not in favor of proposed tax hike

By Staff
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
There was detailed discussion Monday night at the Russellville City Council meeting about supporting a proposed one-cent tax increase for industrial development, but when it came time to vote on it there was nothing left to be said.
The motion died for lack of a second, following discussion among council members and the mayor of how they would only support the proposed tax increase if it went before a vote of the people.
"I'm not for tax increases of any kind," Russellville Mayor Johnny Brown said. "The only way I'll support this is if the people of Russellville and the people of Franklin County get to vote on it."
Even though the measure died Monday night, each council member agreed that should the legislation pass both the House and the Senate, that it should be put to a local vote.
In March, the Franklin County Commission passed a resolution asking that Sen. Roger Bedford and Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow introduce and support legislation that would increase the sales tax in the county 1-cent, with the additional revenue going to industrial development.
The resolution asks that the money be distributed through the newly established Franklin County Industrial Development Committee, a six-member committee comprised of one county commissioner and the mayors of Russellville, Vina, Hodges, Red Bay and Phil Campbell.
The county's resolution has been met with fervor, most voacl of which were the boards of education and the volunteer fire departments.
With Red Bay and Russellville opting not to support the proposed increase, Mitch Mays, Executive Director for the Franklin County Development Authority, said it's likely that the future of this legislation is doomed, making recruiting industry to Franklin County much more difficult.
"We will continue to market the county and look for industry but it's going to be a lot harder," he said of not having the estimated $2 million the tax could have raised. "There's no money for infrastructure improvements. We're just going to have to market (land and property) as it is and do what we can when we can."
Monday night, Councilman Tinker Malone read the ordinance the city had discussed, which included a 10-percent allocation to fire departments in the county and 40-percent of the new funds earmarked for schools.
It also asked that the City of Russellville be granted two members to the Committee, due to the amount of revenue generated from sales tax in the city limits.

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