Archived Story

Revenue can’t keep pace with inflation without alcohol

Published 1:15pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dear Editor:

I have refrained for months from responding to numerous bantering letters and frivolous claims by those opposing legal alcohol sales. However, reported comments in the Enquirer, on Oct. 3, by Families for a Safe Hartselle (FASH) precipitate this letter to attempt to level the playing field, offering voters in Hartselle an opportunity to learn the whole truth.

FASH, in their “press conference” on Sept. 26, presented a rosy picture of Hartselle’s growth and progress during the past 10 years, emphasizing budget increases, “expected” revenue growth and population growth.

Granted, face dollar budgets have increased, but this is terribly misleading without considering the effect of inflation. Sales tax revenue, which historically provides over 50 percent of the city’s budget, has suffered a net loss of 13.2 percent ($569,573) buying power from 2002 through 2011, due to inflation. Sales tax directly reflects the robustness of retail business. In 2011, the average per capita sales tax of surrounding wet cities (Cullman, Moulton, Decatur, Athens, Madison and Arab) was 55 percent greater than Hartselle’s ($544 to $352).

Mayor Tankersley was quoted after the political forum in August: “The biggest challenge (for the next city administration) will be creating enough retail development to continue to provide the services that our citizens and community have become accustomed to and deserve.” Continued population growth without proportionate retail (sales tax) growth will negatively impact the city’s budget.

FASH boasted of $500,000 additional revenue from expiration of tax abatements to Lowe’s and Captain D’s and from the new aquatic center. What they failed to say was that budgeted expenses for operating the aquatic center exceed budgeted revenue by $189,542. I am interested in knowing details of the remaining $310,458 expired tax abatements. Is there more to this story also? I will explore.

It has been painfully obvious during the past few months that FASH has attempted to discredit information developed by Hartselle Citizens for Economic Development (HCED). HCED information is based on extensive research and is documented with references. Please visitwww.growhartselle.

com or visit HCED Campaign Headquarters for factual, in-depth information in support of legalized sales.

FASH declined to publicly debate the issue of legalization with HCED last summer. Could it be that they can’t stand for the whole truth to become public?

Bob Francis

Hartselle Citizens for Economic Development

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