FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16 JANUARY 2015
On Friday, January 16th, 2015 the Etowah County Legislative Delegation has scheduled a public hearing to be held in the Etowah County Commission Chambers from 1-4 p.m. The purpose of the hearing is for the delegation members to hear from the various recipients of funds generated by the County’s one cent sales tax. Each of the presenters has been asked in advance to prepare a brief presentation to the delegation outlining the receipt and use of the funds that each has traditionally received from the public. It is expected that the presentations will last approximately ten minutes each.
State Senator Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) initiated the hearings soon after the 2014 elections as a result of meetings in which the funding of the Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit was noted to be jeopardy. During the DEU discussion a generalized call for additional perpetual local revenue was brought up by attendees. “I don’t favor new taxes”, said Senator Williams. “The best practice is to review current spending and decide if our priorities are in order. Doing so publicly is an effort to promote the public trust and to ensure that our citizens know that we value the wisest and most efficient use of their tax dollars.” Since the one cent sales tax was created through legislative action Williams then asked for and received the support of the other members of the local delegation in beginning a review of current spending starting with the one cent tax distribution.
Representative Becky Nordgren (R-Gadsden) agreed to the call for the hearing. “The most important thing that we can do for our constituents is to be good stewards with what they have given us to work with. This hearing is a visible effort to do just that”. Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) also agreed and made note of the fact that no such hearing has ever occurred in his memory. “The use of local tax dollars is a privilege, not a right. I’m glad that we are making this effort to show the community how tax monies are allocated and to ask the recipients of those funds to describe their use to the very people who provided them.”
A variety of different stakeholders are on the receiving end of the Etowah County one cent sales tax, including the County Commission, Gadsden State Community College, and the County’s multiple volunteer fire departments. “By holding this hearing no inference should be taken that any certain recipient is in some way unworthy”, said Senator Williams. “This is an opportunity for the delegation and public to listen and be made aware.”
Representative Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) was unavailable for advance comment but is scheduled to attend the hearing