Pelham Council Raises Taxes One Cent

Another Shelby County city got one step closer to creating it's own school system. The Pelham City Council unanimously passed a plan to increase the sales tax by one cent to pay for it, but the plan isn't setting well with everyone.{}As a parent planning to home school, Travis Rainey says he disagrees with the increased cost to shop. "It could hurt our sales," Travis Rainey, a Pelham Resident said. "People may come to this area to buy things to escape higher taxes."But Jessica Mills says it's smart. And the extra expense at the cash register will be well worth it."If it gives my children a better education and provides more for them with their education, then I don't mind it at all," she said."I think that having all the schools combined together in one city - the unification will be good for the kids."The plan earmarks around $5 million dollars each year for schools, but Mayor Gary Waters says it's not the right time."I don't think we should arbitrarily raise taxes in the off chance we're going to start a school system. We still don't know which direction we're going to enhance the schools in our corporate boundaries. We should have a firm plan first."Councilors say they're aiming to provide more teachers in Pelham classrooms and create a pre-k program."We have to start bringing back in young families who want to go where the best schools are," Rick Hayes, Council President said.Councilor Mercer said it's all moving too fast and the cost of a feasibility study should be put towards creating new programs like pre-k."Let's slow down," Maurice Mercer, Councilor said. "Lets give the residents a detailed list of what we would like to accomplish."Tonight's vote raises the sales tax from 8 to 9 percent. Councilors {}decided in a 4-1 vote to pay for a feasibility study exploring the finances of starting a new district. The new sales tax puts Pelham on par with Alabaster but still lower than areas like Jefferson County.


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