Phenix City And Russell County Face Off Over Beverage Tax

A squabble between a city and a county could put you right in the middle.  Phenix City and Russell County are at odds over a beverage tax.

County commissioners okayed two resolutions last month that are pending approval from the state legislature.  However, in Tuesday's city council meeting, Phenix City sent a similar resolution to the state legislature opposing the two proposals.

Commissioners are trying to come up with ways to increase revenue.  One of those is a beverage tax that would add a nickel on every 12 ounce coke.  Sixty percent of that money would go to pave county roads and help complete other projects.  While the other forty percent "would be shared with all the fire departments in Russell County meaning Phenix City as well as Hurtsboro," said Russell Co. Commissioner Mervin Dudley.

But city councilors don't like it.  "We have our own taxes.  We are not raising taxes in the city and the county coming in and doing it will affect us," said City Councilman John Storey.

"The more taxes you put on the consumer, you're forcing them to go into another market to shop.  We just don't think that's good for Phenix City or Russell County," said Phenix City Mayor Jeff Hardin.

The county says if this beverage tax does not make it through the legislature.  They will have to make other options.  "If this is not one of them there will be something else that will come up but the needs are here.  We just got to come up with the revenue," said Economic Development Director James McGill.

This as the county has a question for the city.  "I would like to ask the city for their suggestion for helping improve the services for the county," Dudley said.

"They got seven people down there that's grown and can think for themselves.  They'll figure out a way and I am not going to sit back and tell them how to run their business," Storey said.

The state legislature has not made a decision on the county's request.  City councilman John Storey told News Leader Nine that if the resolution does pass, both sides will just have to deal with it.