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Public forum in Mobile on proposed sales tax increase

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.