Ozark Set to Propose Sales Tax Hike

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Six months ago, the city of Ozark started exploring the idea of raising the sales tax.

Now however, some city leaders say it's time to bring the issue back up.

In the next few months, Ozark shoppers could be paying more at the register.

City leaders are looking to raise its sales tax by one-percent within the next month, so it will be in effect by August 1st.

"This all has to do with our employees, especially police officers especially firefighters and others being under paid. We have a very, very hard time in keeping our firemen and keeping our police officers. They're going to other communities," says Ozark Mayor Bob Bunting.

So why now, when leaders first brought this issue up six months ago? Some leaders say they must discuss and vote on this issue now if they want businesses to start paying by next year's budget.

Officials will set the budget by October.

In order to get information on how much of an increase the sales tax will be, it must be in effect by August 1st.

And, to give businesses time to set up their books, they will have to pass a sales tax ordinance by mid-June.

However, some Ozark business owners say it's not something Ozark needs.

"Our main competition would be Troy, Enterprise and surrounding area[s]. We need to be on the same ground they are. I don't think we need to be higher than the other towns. Dothan's a different market. They pull from a lot of different area[s] than we do and I just don't think we need to go higher at this time," says Ozark Business Owner, Stanley Enfinger.

However, many business owners say they would be in support of a sales tax increase if the money was earmarked and shown exactly where it will be used, not just for the city's general budget.

A sales tax increase is set to be proposed Tuesday night at the city council meeting.

This will be its first proposal. There will be a public forum to discuss the issue next Monday.

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