Earlier this year, the Opp City Council approved a one-cent sales tax for its schools. The decision to raise the sales-tax from eight to nine percent drew a great deal of criticism from the business community.
South Highlands Elementary School has been plagued by water leaks and mold issues for several years.
Built in the late 1950's, Opp City Superintendent Earl Weeks says it’s essential that a new elementary school be built.
The one-cent sales tax was the only alternative. "This city council did what they thought was right, and took the heat from the political decision,” Weeks said. “And a school is needed and it was the right thing to do."
Opp Mayor H.D. Edgar took a great deal of heat from the city's business community concerning the sales tax increase from eight to nine percent. "We tried to get county help, we tried to get state help,” he said. “Nothing came. We finally rolled-up our sleeves and did what we thought was right for education, and the children here."
In the downtown district, shop owners we spoke with said that the penny increase really hasn't had any negative affect on sales.
Coffee Shop Owner Sandra Jackson hated to see the increase in the local sales tax, but understands its purpose. "The sales tax, I guess was necessary. It seems everything is going up. And I’m glad the money is coming into the schools for Opp."
Groundbreaking for the new Opp Elementary School is expected to take place within the next several weeks near the Opp Bypass.
Since passage of the one-cent sales tax, Opp officials say they haven't received any complaints from area consumers.
Since Alabama has the lowest property taxes in the country, school officials say a sales tax was their only real alternative.