Wetumpka City Council Approves Sales Tax Increase
After listening to supporters and opponents of a proposed tax increase in the city on Monday, the Wetumpka City Council approved a one percent sales tax increase by a vote of four to one. This raises the tax from an 8 percent sales tax rate to 9 percent, meaning the city will collect 4 cents per dollar spent.
Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis says the increase will generate almost two million dollars in revenue, which will be used to grow the city’s reserves and help pay off the city’s debt.
“We’ve depleted a lot of our reserves,” Willis said. “We’ve gotta build those back in case of emergencies and different that we could get ourselves into.”
Willis says the city’s employees will also receive raises. There are around 120 city workers in Wetumpka. Some city employees haven’t seen a raise in over five years.
James Horsely grew up in Wetumpka. He says he supports the tax increase because he wants to see his town continue to improve.
“I’m for it,” Horsely said. “I know it costs more to do business today than it did in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. And I think the council and the mayor has done a good job.”
Frank Bertarelli is a Wetumpka business owner. He was hesitant to see a one percent sales tax increase, but he’s hoping the council spends the money wisely.
“If it goes to where its going, I think it will be beneficial to the city,” Bertarelli said. “I don’t think it’ll hurt us as bad as we think it will or some people are saying it will.”
Even with this tax increase, Wetumpka’s sales tax rate compares well to others in the area.
“That still keeps us below every other city in every other town within the River Region,” Willis said.
The city of Wetumpka’s new tax increase will take effect in September.