HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) –
On Monday, Homewood City Council unanimously voted to pass a sales tax increase.
"I enjoyed growing up here. I think it’s one of the best cities in the country," Whitney Isley said.
Isely is the mother of three and a school teacher. She supports the idea of a one-cent sales tax increase.
"I don’t mind paying more for my sales tax because I know it’s going to our schools, which are really important to me," Isley said.
The Homewood sales tax plan will raise the sales tax by one cent, bringing the total sales tax up to 10 cents, matching surrounding cities.
The tax will raise $110 million: $55 million for schools and $55 million for the city.
The school system says it would spend the money on adding rooms to ever-growing elementary and middle schools. A new high school could possibly be built.
Patriot Park could see a new recreational center and pool. A new building for its overcrowded police department and city courts is also in the plan.
Before the vote, there was a public hearing. Seven people spoke up voicing concerns.
"It has been rushed. It has been claimed destined. It’s been hard to get information. I don’t trust that they have looked at every option and hired the right experts to make a wise decision on behalf of our city," said Jason Strauss, Homewood resident.
"We will continue to meet with our constituents and hear their questions their thoughts and due diligence," Homewood City Schools Superintendent, Bill Cleveland said.
"This is not a tax because can’t pay our bills. This is an investment in our city, in the things that we believe are important and that’s the future of our city," Homewood mayor Scott McBrayer said.
No one wants to raise taxes, but in Homewood they see it as an investment in doing what they do best: attracting families to the city.
Homewood wants to go to Wall Street in December while the interest rates are low and can be cost-saving to taxpayers.
The sales tax hike will go into effect on Jan. 1.
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