Additional half-cent sales tax for county schools to begin December 1

Published 10:38pm Monday, October 22, 2012

The Dallas County Commission authorized an amended ordinance Monday that will delay the implementation of an additional half-cent sales tax from November 1 to December 1.

Commission attorney John Kelly told commissioners the company that is contracted to collect sales taxes in the county suggested the change, giving the community at least 30 days notice.

“Revenue Discovery Systems, the company responsible for actually collecting the tax, suggested the 30 days in order to give everyone more notice,” Kelly said following the meeting. “Also took this opportunity, within the 30 days to publish in the newspaper the full ordinance.”

The commission unanimously approved the increase in county sales tax in September. The additional revenue from the tax would go to support the Dallas County School System.

In early coverage of the tax’s passage, Dallas County Schools superintendent of education Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie said revenues generated from this tax would help the system become compliant with state law.

According to state law, the system is required to maintain a reserve to cover at least one month’s of operating expenses. In Dallas County’s case, the amount needed would be $2.6 million. McKenzie said Dallas County has less than $100,000 in reserves.

The school system has been using money from capital outlay, money typically used for things like fixing roofs and bringing buildings up to code, for paying off debt. McKenzie said they were able to continue to meet their capital needs through the acquisitions of grants.

The revenues brought about by this additional tax will now be placed in the general operating fund to build up the reserve and pay down debt, and allow the county to use capital outlay funds for purposes for which they were intended.

The new sales tax will go into effect in November, bringing the current sales tax up by 0.5 percent. The current sales tax in the city of Selma will increase from 9 percent to 9.5 percent, Valley Grande will go from 8 percent to 8.5.

The tax revenues are collected one month and then paid to the school system the next month. In this case, the tax revenues generated from this additional half-cent sales tax in December will be sent to the Dallas County system in January.

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