Commissioners vote to allow public decision on sales tax

Commissioners vote to allow public decision on sales tax

The Madison County Commission voted 5-1 today to allow a public referendum on a half-cent sales tax increase.

The revenue from the proposed increase would be allocated to school construction projects.

The commissioners voted against the tax before voting for the referendum, which is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2008.

Hundreds of concerned  Madison County residents are packed inside of the commissioners' office this afternoon.

They're waiting to find out if they will be paying a half-cent more in sales tax.

The hike could generate about $21 million annually to launch about a dozen major school construction projects throughout the county's three school systems.

Local business leaders are pushing for the tax because new money is needed to create space for an estimated 9,000 students who will move to the area by 2011 as the Pentagon transfers jobs to Redstone Arsenal.

If it passes, the increase could raise the sales tax to 8.5 cents within the city limits and 6 cents outside.

The commission rejected the proposal in October with a 4 to 2 vote, but some of them now say they've changed their minds and the tax hike may be approved.