HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — People shopping in Homewood will have to pay a little extra. Sales tax is one cent higher. The increase took effect Jan. 1.
Homewood City Council voted to raise the sales tax from 9% to 10% back in October.
Money from the sales tax will go towards a $110 million bond that will fund city school improvements, parks and a public safety building.
In October, some people voiced their concerns about the increased sales tax, saying they felt the process was rushed.
City councilor Peter Wright says it happened a little quicker than they would have liked but they had to take advantage of the bond market.
“It was good to do the bonds because the bond market was extremely good in October, November those rates have gone up since then and we moved quickly on that anticipating those rates would go up,” said Wright.
Back in October, when the sales tax was approved, Superintendent Bill Cleveland said the student population had grown 30% since 2000, but the facilities have remained the same.
Julie Herring has 3 kids in Homewood City School System, she says she’s thrilled about what the increase will mean for her kids.
“Right now they’re all in elementary school, my son is about to go to middle school and right now there’s not room at the high school for his class, it’s so big, so we need more money to build a high school, so I think it’s really important this is the best way to do it,” said Herring.
Councilor Wright says they weighed other options, but the property tax rate is capped.
“We were not in a position to wait on those legislative changes which would give us an opportunity to utilize property tax to meet our needs which is why we did go ahead and make the move for the sales tax, to fund very favorable bond rates,’ said Wright.
Wright says the city will have an open discussion where the public can chime in about where the money should go. The public discussion will be January 30.