By Tia Lynn Ivey
A new one-percent sales tax took effect in Morgan County on July 1, raising the local sales tax from 7 percent to 8 percent. The new Transportation Special Project Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) was passed during a special election in March to garner more revenue exclusively to fund transportation-related projects and expenses, such as road repairs, paving, and maintenance, as well as purchasing and maintaining equipment and buildings used for transportation needs.
County officials are warning local businesses to be sure to update their financial systems to reflect the new sales tax rate.
“We are reminding everyone to make sure they are charging customers the new 8 percent sales tax rate as of July 1,” said County Manager Adam Mestres. “Businesses will be billed the 8 percent rate from the Department of Revenue whether or not they update their systems. So if they don’t update it, it will eat into their profit margins,” warned Mestres.
Mestres encouraged people to pay close attention to their receipts and if they notice the old 7 percent sales tax rate still being applied to let the business owner know or a county official know.
“We want to get everyone on the same page,” said Mestres.
County officials believe TSPLOST will greatly help offset expensive road projects. Keeping up with road infrastructure has proved challenging and costly for Morgan County. The average cost to resurface just one mile of roadway is about $100,000. To pave just one mile of dirt road is about $400,000. But TSPLOST will enable the county to take on more than double the roadwork than in previous years—up to 20 miles worth of resurfacing per year.
According to County Manager Adam Mestres, TSPLOST is expected to bring in $18 million over the course of five years. Over $12 million of those revenues would be used by the county, while the rest would be distributed between the City of Madison, Rutledge, Bostwick and the Town of Buckhead. The city of Madison’s share of projected revenues from TSPLOST is expected to be 21.9 percent, which would amount to about $3.8 million, according to the IGA. “We believe this is a very conservative estimate,” said City Manager David Nunn, who noted in the past, sales tax projections aimed too high and brought in less than anticipated.