At tonight’s Opp City Council meeting, council members voted in support of an ordinance that will increase sales tax by one cent. Mayor Becky Bracke said the increase is due largely to Mizell Memorial Hospital “experiencing tough times.”
She said she recently attended a legislative meeting of the Alabama Hospital Association where the topic of rural hospitals was discussed.
“They predicted that twenty rural hospitals in Alabama would be closing this year if something wasn’t done,” Bracke said. “If changes weren’t made in our healthcare system.”
She said what the city wants to do with the sales tax is “help the hospital implement changes which will help sustain them through these times.”
Bracke emphasized that Mizell is experiencing tough times due to the healthcare system and the volatility of things such as Medicaid and Medicare.
District 1 Councilman Chad Jackson, District 2 Councilwoman Charlotte Hunt, District 3 Councilman Gary Strickland and District 4 Councilman LaVaughn Hines voted in favor of the increase.
Skip Spurlin, District 5 Councilman, abstained from voting.
By majority vote, the ordinance was approved and the one-cent sales tax will go into effect on Aug. 1, 2017, according to documentation provided at the meeting. This would increase sales tax rate in Opp from nine percent to 10 percent.
She also said a loss of revenue in Opp was another reason for the increase.
“We all know that our revenue has been down for a long time in Opp with the loss of our factories and our mills,” she said.
She said she spent three days at a retail conference and was often asked about population, traffic count and workforce of Opp.
Enticing people to come to Opp, she said, would increase the population, job force and traffic count, which would benefit the city.