Arab's cross-county residents face high sales tax rate - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Arab's cross-county residents face high sales tax rate


It's not unusual for Alabama cities to cross county lines. For example, part of Madison is in Limestone County and part is in Madison County.

But, it is unusual for there to be extremes of sales tax rates for one city in two counties.

Arab is one such city. Most of the city is in Marshall County but a small section is in Cullman County and residents there pay 12.5 percent sales tax.

However, there aren't any businesses in that area to collect such a high rate.

And a resident there said it's unlikely anyone will put a business there.

Despite a recent sales tax increase, a portion of the town of Arab in Cullman County has fallen to second place with regard to the highest sales tax in the country, according to Vertex Inc., a tax solutions company.

Effective this week, residents began paying an extra penny on the dollar as the city now collects a 5 percent sales tax.

The area also sees a 3.5 percent collection rate for Cullman County which is reduced for that particular area only.

Add the 4 percent collection by the state and that adds up to a whopping 12.5 percent.

One resident believes it's been decades ago that the city annexed that small portion of Cullman County into the city limits.

James Rankin owns about 20 acres in that section of Arab. He said only after he purchased the property did they find out it was in the city limits.

Rankin admitted the sales tax rate isn't very flattering.

Being in the city while in another county, he feels, is a problem rather than a blessing. Rankin said they do not get garbage pickup, their home insurance rates are not cheaper, and they do not get any city sewer access. Rankin also said the roads are in dire need of repair and that nobody has attempted to fix them.

However, Arab Mayor Bob Joslin disputes the latter claim. He says all roads within the city limits are scheduled to be repaved with the new sales tax money.

Rankin, meanwhile, said he will continue his efforts to be de-annexed from the city limits.  

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