Tallapoosa County Schools will now see a portion of sales tax collected on purchases made at online giants Amazon, Walmart and more.

The Tallapoosa County Commission approved a memorandum of agreement between it and the Tallapoosa County Schools at its Monday meeting to share simplified use sellers tax (SSUT) the county receives from the State of Alabama.

“The county board of education approached us several months ago about SSUT, to share some of that revenue with the board of education,” Tallapoosa County administrator Blake Beck said. “The sticking point was the termination clause. Mr. Porter and I met and we agreed to set a term on the agreement. At the end of the term, it can be evaluated by either party and terminated.”

The agreement requires the county to share funds with the Tallapoosa County Board of Education and is effective for four years. Beck said it allows county schools to properly budget and utilize the funds for larger projects. The agreement passes along 12.5% of the SSUT funds from Jan. 1, 2021 until Oct. 1, 2021. After that 25% of the SSUT funds will be passed along to the county school board.

Beck said with increases in revenue across the board, the county would not see an adverse effect to already budgeted revenues for the county.

All county employees will now receive Tier 1 retirement benefits. The commission approved moving approximately 85 employees from Tier 2 to Tier 1. Beck told the commission the move was allowed under 2018 state legislation but had a May 8 deadline. Beck said about 42 other counties had made the move and it benefits the employee in the long run.

“The benefit to the employee is under Tier 2 an employee couldn’t retire until 62 or 65,” Beck said. “Under Tier 1, they can retire after 25 years of service regardless of age. Also the benefits paid under Tier 1 are better.”

It will cost the county about $25,000 more per year for the move and employees will contribute more to the retirement program. Regular employee contributions increase from 6% to 7.5% and law enforcement goes from 7% to 8.5%.

The commission approved allowing the Revenue Commissioner’s office to seek bids for a boat for the reappraisal department. The commission voted in 2019 to sell a pontoon boat from the department.

“It had been several years since it was used because of the condition of the boat,” revenue commissioner Eva Middlebrooks said. “This is to replace that boat and aid in assessing values of lake front property.”

The commission entered an executive session to discuss a pending legal matter with Tallapoosa County engineer David Moore. They were joined briefly by Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance director Chad Odom and Denise Walls. The commission returned to its regular session after 30 minutes without taking action.

Commissioner George Carleton was absent from the meeting.

The next meeting will see commissioner Emma Jean Thweatt taking over chair and Carleton as vice chair. Commissioner John McKelvey served as chair for the last nine months. It is a position that is rotated amongst the five commissioners by district so all can be chair during the four year term of the commissioner.

In other action the Tallapoosa County Commission:

• Approved minutes of the March 8 and March 29 meetings

• Approved warrants and purchase orders

• Approved Family Medical Leave Act for two employees

• Approved an indigent burial

• Approved a proclamation declaring April as fair housing month

• Approved a proclamation recognizing April as Child Abuse Preventation Month

• Approved changes to the county credit card policy

• Was reminded the Tallapoosa County courthouses would be closed April 26 in observance of Confederate Memorial Day.

The next meeting of the Tallapoosa County Commission is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, May 10.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.