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Public forum in Mobile on proposed sales tax increase

The seal of the City of Mobile, Alabama
The seal of the City of Mobile, Alabama

According to the city of Mobile's web-site, "The Mobile City Council will hold a Public Forum on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at Government Street Baptist Church (3401 Government Street) starting at 6 p.m. The forum will give council members an opportunity to get feedback from the public regarding the Mayor's proposed one cent sales tax increase."

The issue of upping the city's already 9 cent sales tax by an additional penny arose earlier in the year when on August 20th the city's mayor Sam Jones as required by law presented to the council a balanced budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2012. In an open letter to the council which accompanied the fiscal 2012 budget the Mayor warned of a $29,000,000 budget shortfall facing the city if measures were not taken to plug what was characterized as a "hole" in the city's budget.

The measure proposed by Jones to fill the hole is essentially a re-instatement of one penny in sales tax which had been previously been implemented with a grandfather clause and subsequently allowed to expire. A 10% across the board furlough for city workers is the other alternative seen by the Mayor as a way to at least partially plug the hole. Even with the furlough however, the Mayor wrote, "we are still looking at filling a hole that amounts to $11.6 million dollars next year."

In a letter to the editor of the Press-Register, Mobile's former mayor of 16 years, Michael C. Dow endorsed the idea of re-instating the one penny sales tax. According to reports the seven person city council plans to vote on the issue by the end of this month.