Andalusia City Council Approves Sales Tax Hike

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By Catalina Trivino

A change in the Andalusia sales tax has created a war of words that for weeks, has had many in the community voicing their opinion on whether the rate should increase...  and finally, Tuesday night -- the city council has come to a decision.

The decision has been made -- the Andalusia city council has voted to increase the city sales tax by 1.5 cents, which means if you shop in Andalusia, you'll be paying a 9. 5 percent sales tax in the coming weeks. And the road to get to this point hasn't been easy. Just see for yourself:

"I'm in favor of the sales tax for our education," Said resident, Willie Thomas.

"If you keep it in place, I'm asking you 18 months to 2 years take it off," Said Jason Jewel, who served the previous city council.

It's a heated debate on whether to keep the 8 percent sales tax.

On Tuesday, more than 100 people attended the Andalusia city council meeting. In the weeks leading to Tuesday's meeting, many residents have voiced their opinions through Facebook and meetings, like one held Monday night for those who opposed the increased sales tax.

All leading to the unanimous decision voted by the city council -- adopting the ordinance -- followed by a room with sounds of approval... and discontent.

"We've got to put priorities right and I'm not for raising taxes because I'm on a fixed income," Said resident, Liz Burn.

"I'm in support of it because the project that impacts the South Three Notch Street directly impacts the hospital," Said Andalusia Regional Hospital Administrator, Rebecca Brewer.

Right now, Andalusia's share of the sales tax is 2 cents, but the city will now increase it to 3.5 cents.

The increase goes into effect July 1.

"We work hard trying to research and sometimes you have to make decision in a hurry to react to certain circumstances that they present themselves at that time. And so I stand by all the decisions I've made and I think the council does as well," Said Andalusia Mayor, Earl Johnson.

Johnson says half a penny would go to Andalusia city schools to help with building improvements as well as bringing back some programs that were cut from previous years. He says one cent would go to help matching funds in grants for future city improvements.

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