Covington Co. Sales Tax Repeal

Opp Mayor H.D. Edgar says the upcoming expiration of a countywide one cent sales tax would be a disaster for his city's school district.

Opp officials' plan to lobby the Covington County commissions to renew the tax.

With a student enrollment of 1400 students, the Opp city school district employs nearly 200 teachers and non-instructional personnel.

In 2004, the Covington County board of commissioners approved a one cent additional sales tax for 18 months.

For Opp schools, it has meant additional $600,000 in revenue.

"We didn't realize the tremendous positive impact it would have and to get a new school to hopefully be built, and to do repairs of existing ones," said Superintendent Earl Weeks of Opp City School Dist.

Opp Middle School principal, Aaron Hightower, says monies form the one-cent sales tax has replaced moldy carpets in the classrooms. It has reduced the incidents of children getting sick.

"Now we have nice floor tile, it prevents sickness and helps our janitorial staff. It provides a cleaner environment for our kids to learn in," said Hightower.

Opp Mayor Edgar says he has not heard any complaints from area businesses or customers about the penny extra sales tax and the revenue is needed by the city schools.

"The revenue has been important for our schools and it's something we really need," said Mayor Edgar.

Besides Opp, the Andalusia city and Covington County school districts have each received nearly a million dollars in additional revenues from the penny sales' tax.

The Opp City Council has invited school superintendent, Earl Weeks, to present a study on what will happen if the one-cent county sales tax is not renewed.