(SARALAND, Ala.) - While it’s been a heated and divisive proposal in Mobile, a penny sales tax extension passed with ease and overwhelming support from the public in Saraland.
“We [would have] had no choice but to proceed with massive layoffs of city employees and cutting back what I consider essential city services,” Mayor Dr. Howard Rubenstein told Local 15.
Saraland adopted the 1% sales tax increase two years ago, and voted to extend it indefinitely Monday. Without the extension, Council President J. Newton Cromer said the city was facing a $2.2 million budget shortfall. Everyone from firefighters and police to teachers and Public Works employees would have been on the chopping block, the Mayor said. Services like Meals on Wheels, which provides food for the elderly, would have been in jeopardy.
The Mobile City Council will decide Tuesday whether or not to pass their own penny tax, which has been touted as essential by Mayor Sam Jones to avoid similar layoffs and service cuts. Three council members have voiced opposition to the tax increase. Under that makeup, the proposed tax would fail.