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Tax hike bringing in projected revenue

Last year the possibility of a 1-cent sales tax infuriated many Marengo Countians. Constant opposition met the tax each time it was brought up. Many were angered they were not given a voice or a vote on the issue. Despite the strong feelings, the tax passed and to this point, it has served its intended purpose and then some.

To date, the tax has been successful in generating the expected numbers. Marengo County Commissioner Ken Tucker said it was possible the tax could do more.

“It is my understanding that the figures are right on target,” Tucker said. “There may even be a little bit more.”

The plan for the tax was to take the money collected and distribute 48 percent to the county and 52 percent to other designated municipalities. Distribution to both was based on population.

Tucker said his understanding was the collection has been positive.

“They are collecting about $55,000 to $60,000 for the county each month and that is just the county’s 48 percent,” Tucker said. “The other 52 percent is going to the other designated entities. I think the total is about $120,000 to $127,000 a month.”

County Administrator Dawn Quinney said since the tax is young it is hard to say how large or small the numbers will be. Currently, she said things are where they thought they would be.

“We have only had it for about four months so it’s hard to say,” Quinney said. “On average it has produced about $57,500 for the county and if you multiple that by 12 it comes to about $690,000 a year. That would be aright about where they thought it would be for the county’s share.”

The county had hoped after one year the tax could produce over $1 million in revenue. The county’s share was expected to be around $600,000. Tucker said sales tax numbers can change at any time, but currently the tax is on a healthy pace to reach or surpass those numbers.

“I think it could generate as much as $700,000 for the year,” Tucker said. “It is really hard to say because sales tax numbers can fluctuate. We had expected it to pull in about $650,000 a year and I think it should do that or more.”

Those receiving their share from the tax have felt its impact right away. Most felt the money would be distributed on a yearly basis and they would not benefit for some time. However, Tucker said the commission had planned to distribute the money on a monthly basis making it helpful right away.

Ken Tucker

“I think a lot of the people receiving the tax money had expected to do so on a yearly basis,” Tucker said. “It has always been our policy to give out money on a monthly basis so they are getting it faster than they had expected.”

The entities that were on tap to receive the 48 percent of the tax were Marengo County schools, municipalities and Bryan Whitfield memorial Hospital.

Projected funding for the schools from the tax was $144,000 for Demopolis City Schools, $74,000 for Marengo County Schools and $37,000 for Linden City Schools. Demopolis received the greatest amount because it housed the most students.

The same principal was to be applied to the municipalities receiving money from the tax, which include Demopolis, Linden, Thomaston, Providence, Sweet Water, Faundsdale, Myrtlewood and Dayton.

Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital was expected to receive about $250,000 through the tax.

Whether the tax reaches its potential remains to be seen. For now, it has begun on a strong pace.