City eyes private firm to collect sales taxes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 21, 2003

Selma could be changing the way it collects sales tax.

At a special called meeting of the Selma City Council Wednesday, representatives of AlaTax, a private tax collecting company, spoke to the council about becoming the city’s tax collecting agency.

The State of Alabama currently collects the city’s sales tax.

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According to Council President George Evans, an ordinance about AlaTax will be reviewed at the council’s regular Monday meeting.

Evans noted that the council would have to suspend parliamentary rules to vote on the ordinance. If one council member voted against suspending the rules, a vote on the ordinance would be delayed to another date.

The special meeting was called to discuss AlaTax, an Enhanced 911 communication link for transmitting emergency calls and pending litigation.

According to Sexton, he has been working on getting AlaTax as Selma’s sales tax collection agency for the past 10 years.

Stephen Morris, executive vice president of AlaTax, said his company has existed for more than 23 years. &uot;We’ve got a good track record,&uot; Morris said.

AlaTax has increased revenues for every jurisdiction it collects taxes in, Morris said. The company currently collects taxes for more than 240 jurisdictions, including Dallas County and Valley Grande.

Each month businesses must fill out tax forms concerning state and local sales taxes. AlaTax charges $2.50 for processing those monthly forms, whereas the state charges $3.66.

Morris said Selma would save about $27,000 each year if it switched to his company.

Selma would have more control over the collection of sales tax with AlaTax behind the helm, Morris said. The city’s administration could see where its revenues go through weekly and monthly reports that could be accessed by city leaders online.

Morris noted that his company goes through annual procedural audits and certifications. &uot;You can’t just go out and collect taxes,&uot; Morris said.

Evans said that he thought AlaTax would do what Selma needed. Councilwomen Rita Sims Franklin and Nancy Sewell agreed.

In other matters the council: