◆ Result in a substantial increase in temporary and permanent employment opportunities and private sector investment within the county.”
Madison County was the fifth of the counties to implement the tax but since they didn’t see the need for a detention or civic center, it opted for the latter option: to fund economic development. Since its inception, the Madison County Council of Governments has reviewed and voted on applications based on (per their packet) whether or not the project will “promote the economic vitality of Madison County.” Project selection criteria include community need, job creation/retention, private leverage, and the use of other public money.
Benjamin Franklin was on to something when he realized how much those extra pennies can add up to. Almost $1 million (over $987,000) was awarded at the end of last year and Page 5 of the Madison County Council minutes from Dec. 27, 2012 (http://www.madisoncty.com/County%20Council/CCM122712.pdf) shows the complete list of allocations. While it is hard to be opposed to waterparks and sewer repairs, I am somehow missing the economic development part of the awards given. Not to be misunderstood, I love a rebuilt police station as much as the next guy and water tower repairs make me weak in the knees, but I’m not sure that the Frederick Douglas historic marker (awarded $3,550) is what the Legislature had in mind 24 years ago when they required Madison County McDonald’s to charge an extra 1 percent tax on every purchase for economic development purposes. Where is the attraction of business and the increase in employment that this tax was intended for? Do we need to implement yet another tax to finally fund those endeavors?
Emmett Dulaney is the author of several books on technology and an Anderson resident. His column appears Tuesdays.