MILLBROOK — Members of the Millbrook City Council unanimously passed a one-cent city sales tax increase on Tuesday morning at a special-called meeting in an attempt to beat Gov. Kay Ivey’s possible signature on grocery tax cut legislation passed by the House and Senate last week.

The ordinance increases the city of Millbrook’s sales tax from 3.5% to 4.5% “effective immediately,” with collection of the new tax rate beginning on September 1.

There’s still some uncertainty about whether the new 1% sales tax increase would include groceries since legislation that passed the House and Senate last week cutting the state portion of the grocery tax also put a cap on local governments raising the local sales tax on groceries. 

However, that bill still has yet to be signed into law by Ivey.

“It’s not something that we like to do as far as having a special meeting to do something like this but we are under some time constraints,” Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley told 1819 News in an interview on Tuesday. 

A spokesperson for Ivey said on Tuesday morning the governor’s office was “technically still awaiting the bill to be transmitted to our office.”

“We look forward to receiving it and reviewing,” the spokesperson said.

Kelley said the city clerk would be sending a copy of the ordinance to the state Department of Revenue immediately after the meeting concluded.

“We are going to send it to them and see what happens,” Kelley said. “It’s all we can do. We considered passing it on that first reading (in May) because of this very thing.”

Kelley estimated the one-cent sales tax increase would raise $2.2 million annually, “dearly needed for personnel and equipment and everything else” if the increase includes groceries. If groceries aren’t included in the tax increase, that total will decrease by $400,000 to $500,000.

“We figure that’s going to cut that down to about $400,000 to $500,000, maybe even more,” Kelley said. “We’re still going to get what we’re getting now. We’re just not going to get any more on those particular items.”

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