Sumiton mayor talks tax increase at chamber luncheon
by Rachel Davis
May 15, 2013 | 1003 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SUMITON — Sumiton Mayor Petey Ellis spoke to the East Walker Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday as the first of four mayors to address the group over the next four months.

Ellis talked about upcoming construction projects, including a sewer project on Main Street and the walking track that he said will begin taking bids in late June.

He also discussed the importance of the cities being able to work together on projects that they are all currently spending money on independently, such as garbage pick up, grass cutting and jails.

Ellis also touched on an issue that came up at the last city council meeting — a proposed sales tax increase in the city of Sumiton.

“Nobody likes that term — I don’t like it, the council doesn’t like it — but if we are going to continue to provide the services to the residents, we have to find a way to fund it,” Ellis said.

Ellis also said the last city sales tax increase was implemented in 1985.

The city of Sumiton in 2004 spent $655,529 on payroll and $229,000 in insurance payments. In 2012, those numbers rose to approximately $1,061,000 for payroll and $309,000 in insurance.

Increases in other areas have also had an impact on the city budget. The city purchased a new garbage truck last week for approximately $130,000. Ellis said that same type of truck cost the city $65,000 - $70,000 in 1993.

“We want to do what we have to do to maintain the level of service we believe the citizens of Sumiton, Dora and all of east Walker deserve,” Ellis said.

The sales tax would also be used to build a new fire station for the city. The current station is old, poorly constructed and beyond repair.

“We are in terrible need of a fire station, and we’re going to build that station,” Ellis said. Although the city’s alcohol tax revenue is earmarked for the construction of a new station, that has generated minimal income, Ellis said.

The Chamber meets at noon on the second Tuesday of each month at Lee’s Restaurant. The next meeting will be June 11 and the speaker will be Drew Gilbert.