Phenix City council approves rental tax increase - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Phenix City council approves rental tax increase

By Curtis McCloud -   bio | email

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM)- It all came down to a 3-1 vote with one member of council absent and with that, the 1.5% rent increase for some rental properties in Phenix City.

Sherri Applewhite owns Wind-sweep apartments off Highway 280, which has 108 units.

"In this economic environment that we are all living in, nobody wants to see a tax right now especially this type of tax," Applewhite said.

According to members of council, money from the 1.5 % tax increase will go towards building facilities to help improve Phenix City.  Sherri, who estimates it will cost her 15-thousand dollars a year believes the tax will drive people out of the city, sending them across the river.

"We are going to start creeping up to Columbus rates, so why would you want to live here when you could live in Columbus for the same amount of money."

"This is the worst performance financially by a city council that I have ever been associated with."

Phenix City Mayor Sonny Coulter voted against the rent tax increase. He says it will bring financial burdens to the public.

"It is not a good way to raise revenues when you are raising it on the backs of people who many of whom who are in a financial situation where they can't buy a home," Coulter said.

Council member Jimmy Wetzel voted for the increase. He says the city needs the money for projects that will benefit people in the community.

The taxes were broken up into three parts: a sales tax, lodging tax, and the rental tax - spreading the costs in different areas.

"No one segment of our citizens in Phenix City would be paying a lot or have a burden put on them," Wetzel said.  

For now, Sherri Applewhite has a new task at hand - getting her tenants to stay in Phenix City, saying she plans to offer more amenities and personal services to make up for higher rent.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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