N. Huntsville residents get their say on tax increase proposal - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

N. Huntsville residents get their say on tax increase proposal

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Mayor Battle addressed citizens at Tuesday night's town hall meeting. Mayor Battle addressed citizens at Tuesday night's town hall meeting.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Another in a series of town hall meetings to gauge the level of support for a proposed one-percent sales tax increase was held Tuesday night at the Richard Showers Center.

Councilman Richard Showers said his decision whether or not to support the proposal would hinge in part on the feedback he received at Tuesday's meeting. He said the idea has its pros and cons, and that he has heard from both sides on the issue.

A concerned and skeptical crowd grilled planners, questioning whether raising sales taxes is appropriate.

Some residents feel the increase would further hurt people on low or fixed incomes. Others said that in the past, such expensive road improvement projects have not included the North Huntsville area. Showers said this time around, the funds raised by the sales tax increase would indeed be allocated for projects such as an overpass at Mastin Lake and an extension of Martin Luther King Jr. Lane.

As he did at Monday's town hall meeting at the Main Library, Mayor Tommy Battle attended Tuesday's function to listen to public opinion and explain in greater detail his proposal and its potential impact.

"In five years, if you're sitting in traffic and can't get from here to there, you're going to be spending that penny in wasted gas and sitting in traffic," Battle offered.

"I have a problem with a guy who complains and calls the mayor and says 'I can't get from point A to point B; it takes me 20 minutes instead of 18,' when somebody here in this district... has a problem making the decision about whether to buy food or medicine," said Arthur McDonald to Councilman Showers.

Showers said his input had been running about 50-50, and he's going to do what the people want.

"I wouldn't dare take a vote on this proposal without having your opinion," he said to the assembly.

If approved, the proceeds from the tax increase would be used to fund the $125 million the city needs for its part in a $250 million road improvement deal with the state.

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