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The Florala News
Florala , Alabama
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December 16, 2015     The Florala News
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December 16, 2015
 

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:. ~ ~" - _ U Location Of One Hundred Forty-Five Consecutive Annual Masonic Celebrations ONE HUNDRED FIFTEENTH YEAR NUMBER 40.8 PAGES PRINTED ON ! 00% RECYCLED PAPER WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER ! 6, 20 ! 5 50 PER ISSUE (SALES TAX INCWOEO) by Jan Allred The Covington County Commission takes the risk of being sued ff they don't reduce the county's sales and use tax or increase the sales tax. At a recent workshop County Attorney Stacy Brooks informed commissioners that Covington County wasn't the only county in the state to face this situation since being notified by the Alabama De- partment of Revenue that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Missouri case that having a higher use tax than sales tax is a violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Covington County levies a one percent sales tax on items purchased locally, but currently col- lects a 1.5 percent sales and use tax on items like automobiles, equipment, or construction supplies purchased outside of the county. The sales and use tax was increased from .5 percent to 1.5 percent in 2007. In giving an example, County Administrator Karen Lawson said the county receives payments from Amazon, the online register, for purchases made by county residents. When people purchase tags for automobiles purchased out of town, they also pay taxes. When companies purchase equip- ment and construction materials, they self-report the taxes owed. RDS, the company that collects sales taxes for the county, also monitors those kinds of purchases to ensure the county gets the taxes owed. She also shared figures provided by RDS and shared with commissioners, if the use tax had been equal to local sales taxes during the 2014-2015 fiscal year the county would have col- .... ~ected $397,752 less revenue. During the same period, if the countywide sales tax had been raised .5 percent to equal the sales and use tax rate an additional $3.6 million would have been gener- ated. Brooks told the commission they are not re- quired to change either tax but warned them if they take no action they could be opening them- selves up to a potential class action lawsuit. Com- mission Chairman Bill Godwin urged the com- mission to take some kind of action and said they have to decide what they want to do by January in order for Representative Mike Jones to introduce the legislation. However, Godwin said they need to talk with all entities affected by the decision to see how they would be impacted by any decision the commission makes. The commission took no action at the meeting but asked Lawson to make a recommendation to them. Fun At The Park The City of Florala's new playground opened Saturday. Ella Thomas is shown having a good time exploring the new play- ground. She is the daughter of John and Sasha Thomas of Paxton, FL. by Jan Allred The Covington County E-911 Board is revamping services provided to residents. In doing so they urge residents to take ad- vantage of the services provided by utilizing ambulance services in case of an emergency rather than transport- ing someone to the hospital by privately owned vehicle. The board .recently approved contracts with Advanced EMS and Pridemark EMS for exclusiv~ dispatch in the two newly cre- ated service territories. The new contracts will go into effect on Janu- ary 1, and will ensure advanced life support ambulance services are available to all areas of the county. Board members hope to spread the word about to all residents that the service would be ready to go on Janu- ary 1. Wayne Godwin, who chairs the E911 Board, said those who use ambulance service in times of an emergen- cy get care on the way to the hospital that they don't get when being transported by private vehicle. The board divided the county into two territo- ries, which will ensure ALS services are avail- able for all residents. One of the things that inspired the board to make changes was the issue Florala was hav- ing trying to ensure residents of the city had access to ambulance services. With Florala EMS shutting down the city was left without a 24/7 rescue service. The Florala City Council, in an effort to get emer- gency services for their residents, sought bids to provide emergency services for the city but didn't receive any bids. In their bid specs the city was seeking an am- bulance service to pro- see E911 page 5 i ms. OPEN HOUSE The Florala Phar- macy held an Open House last weekend complete with Santa Claus, pictures with Santa, face painting, refreshments and dis- counts throughout the store. .. Employees greeted customers decked out in their Christmas at- tire. Shown at right are 'Yl e Whoville Christmas Family of Florala Pharmacy': The Angel Tree is set up and ready for adoptions. The Angels can be adopted at Sire, ply Chic on 5th Avenue in Florala. Simply Chic business hours are Tuesday- Friday 11:00 to 5:30 and Saturday 10:00 to 2:00. For questions call 858-2442.:All gifts are due by December 19. The Florala News 1155 Fifth Street Florala, AL 36442 Bill t