By Gary Lloyd
The Trussville City Council last week approved a resolution opposing legislation that restricts rental licenses.
Two companion bills, SB217 by Sen. Vivian Figures and HB257 by Rep. Barry Moore, have been introduced in the Alabama Legislature. The bills would prohibit by constitutional amendment a municipality from assessing a business license fee on the rental of residential real estate on a per unit basis.
According to the proposed amendment, “no business license tax may be imposed on the rental of residential real estate on a per unit basis by a county or municipality unless the tax was imposed prior to January 1, 2013.”
Trussville City Clerk Lynn Porter said at last week’s city council meeting that the bills’ language is “vague” and the precedent this would set is a “fear” among municipalities
According to Trussville’s resolution, “municipal and country governments already have limited options to raise sufficient revenues to meet the needs of local jurisdictions to provide key services including police protection, fire protection, water, sewer, sanitation, education and many others.”
The resolution points out that the proposal is “vague in its wording and could impact a variety of municipal and county governments as well as other institutions that have responsibility to finance bonded indebtedness.”
The city of Trussville believes taxation on a per unit basis is “absolutely essential” to local governments that have a significant number of residential rental properties, many of which are owned by absentee landowners.
The city council submitted its official statement of opposition to the Alabama Legislature, calling it and any other similar legislation an “unwelcome intrusion on the authority of local governments in Alabama to structure and levy business license fees based on local needs and conditions.”
Trussville Mayor Gene Melton said at last week’s meeting he was “all for” the city council voting to oppose the possible legislation.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.