Bill restoring tax revenue moves forward

Published 12:51 am Sunday, March 9, 2014

The town of Orrville is one successful vote and one signature from Gov. Robert Bentley to having a “significant” amount of revenue return to its budget.

Wednesday, the Alabama House of Representatives unanimously passed HB223, a bill sponsored by State Rep. Darrio Melton to restore beer tax revenue for Orrville.

This bill closed a gap in the existing state law that prevented the city from collecting an estimated $9,000 to $10,000 per year in revenue.

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“I’m glad we were able to pass a bill to put it back,” Melton said.

In 2012, auditors reviewing Dallas County’s budget and expenses, discovered the county had “illegally” been sending a portion of the county’s beer tax to the town of Orrville for years.

The problem was that a state law excluded Orrville from distributed funds and instructed the county to stop sending the money to the town.

“Believe me, it was not something that we wanted to do, or knew that we were doing incorrectly,” Dallas County Probate Judge. “In the great scheme of things, the money we are talking about means a lot more to Orrville’s budget than it does to the county’s budget.”

Ballard said the county, along with the town’s leadership and Melton, attempted to have the law corrected in 2013, but the legislative session ended before both the House and the Senate could approve the bill.

“In a small town like Orville, $10,000 can make a big difference in their budget. They need this revenue,” Melton says.

The bill still must pass the Senate and receive the Bentley’s signature before the bill becomes law.

“I am confident Sen. [Hank] Sanders will be able to push this bill through the Senate and make sure it doesn’t fall through the cracks,” Melton said.

If the measure receives approval from the Senate and signed, Ballard was unsure of how soon the town could begin receiving their portion of the beer tax revenues collected.