Proposed Sales Tax Hike Gets First Public Test

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Dothan’s Mayor Pat Thomas is taking his proposal to increase the city's sales tax to citizens, and asking them to approve it. But some people aren't convinced it’s the best thing for the circle city.

There were about 45 people who attended a public forum Monday night to discuss the proposal. Only two said they approved of the mayor's proposal, while everyone else said the extra penny is just too much.

The idea is not being well received by many Dothan residents.

"We can't give ourselves readily a pay raise, and I think the city needs to live within its budget instead of increasing our sales tax to one percent," said Denise Haustenstein, a Dothan resident.

Mayor Thomas says the City of Dothan needs money to maintain and upgrade city, fire and police services, and to construct several community improvement projects.

With the sales tax increase, the city could generate an additional 12-million dollars every year.

But many residents are concerned about the extra penny to every dollar.

"This sales tax does not take into account how it's going to affect senior citizens, the disabled, in other words people on fixed incomes," said Anthony Keith, a Dothan resident.

Mayor Thomas' proposal is getting some support though from some people who say a one cent increase in the sales tax will help Dothan in the long run.

Others say the issue should be put up for a vote, just as other controversial issues like draft beer.

Dothan resident Bob Gentry says, "That issue doesn't have the impact that this sales tax issue does, and I think they ought to send us to the ballot for this."

Mayor Thomas maintains that the tax hike is the best option for the city and that the only other way to get the funds necessary to move Dothan forward would be to implement a garbage and sewage fee.

Something he says will be much more expensive for every family in Dothan, than a one cent increase in the sales tax.

Dothan city commissioners will vote on the sales tax increase on September 5th.
If approved, the sales tax hike would go into effect in January.