By Donna Thornton/News Editor
The Etowah County Commission and the Gadsden City Council approved participation in the state’s tax-free weekend for severe weather preparedness supplies without dissent but in Gadsden, the measure was passed over some opposition.
The state legislature established the weekend to give people a break from state tax on supplies they might need to get ready for tornadoes or other weather events.
It is left to counties and municipalities to decide whether to participate by making specified purchases exempt from county or city tax, just as they do in the tax-free school shopping weekends.
The commission approved the measure without dissent, but at the Gadsden City Council’s Jan. 22 meeting, council member Bill Stewart said he opposed it.
He said there is concern that some merchants, rather than differentiating between the items approved for the exemption and other purchases, just forego collecting tax on any items sold during the time – something that would lessen the city’s tax revenue.
Council President Bob Echols initially said he would abstain from voting on the issue, but asked that his vote be recorded as a “no” as well.
Echols explained that the city finance director had asked council members to vote no out of concern over whether businesses were charging taxes properly during tax-free weekends.
Despite their opposition, the measure passed and Gadsden shoppers will find the same tax break on the weekend of Feb. 22-24 that shoppers in the county’s unincorporated areas, and in the municipalities of Rainbow City, Southside and Hokes Bluff do.
According to spokespersons at the city of Glencoe and Altoona, those municipalities will not participate.