More Taxes for Dothan

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If city commissioners approved the sales tax increase, it would affect anyone who lives or does business in Dothan.

The increased revenue could be a good thing for city departments in dire need of better equipment.

There hasn't been a sales tax increase since 1992 and since that time, even earlier, departments have been using the same equipment. If better equipment isn't purchased soon, it could mean the difference between great care and a possible breakdown.

Police cars, fire trucks, even equipment used for the city's softball and baseball fields, they've all reached a critical point. The equipment is old, outdated, and has been stretched until it can't be stretched anymore. Police cars constantly need repairs, one of the city's fire trucks should be used as a back-up, and the city's leisure services department is also suffering.

Mayor Pat Thomas says for several years the budget has reflected a deficit. As a result, that deficit hasn't allowed room for capital improvements, regular maintenance, community investment or pay raises.

Attracting new employees presents a challenge, if the price to hire them isn't right. A proposed one percent sales tax increase by Dothan Mayor Thomas will generate an estimated $12 million a year, with $6 million of that for operating expenses.

The mayor's tax increase proposal is part of a larger community enhancement plan which calls for updates to the local library, building a performing arts center, a multi-purpose stadium, and a children's museum.

Research shows on any given weekday, about 120,000 people are in Dothan to shop, or do some other business. The mayor says the sales tax increase would give those people, who come in to use the city's services some funding responsibility as well.

The city commission will vote on the increase Sept. 5, if approved it would take effect Jan. 1, 2007.