Fred retail

The imminent closure of the Fred's retail store in Heflin has some city officials concerned due to loss of that sales tax revenue.

HEFLIN — Heflin city clerk Shane Smith updated the council on the city’s budget for the next fiscal year during a work session Tuesday night, and the news wasn’t good: Sales and gas tax revenues are falling.

Smith said the gas tax compared to this time last year is down $10,000 and the city sales tax is down $5,000. 

Smith told the council he is going to look into whether anyone has not paid their fair share of the gas tax by performing an audit.

“It could be that people are not buying as much gas here in Heflin,” said Smith.

Smith said that the challenge for next year will be making up for sales tax from the recently closed Hardee’s and now Fred’s — which just announced it will be closing its Heflin location. 

Smith hopes that customers who shopped at Fred’s will go to other local businesses to buy what they need.

“It’s not like they are carrying things we don’t have in other locations,” said Smith.

Tanya Maloney, Heflin’s economic developer, said that Fred’s is closed now but will reopen Friday morning at 8 a.m.

“They brought in a ton of product they will be heavily discounting and trying to sell out,” said Maloney.

Maloney said that the store will close in 6-8 weeks and is optimistic that another similar retailer will occupy that building.

“We’ve been having calls about folks that are interested,” said Maloney.

Maloney said that the decision to close Fred’s has nothing to do with the market of Heflin, “it has to do with the company itself.”

Every Fred’s store is closing due to a bankruptcy according to Maloney.

Smith said that the internet sales tax that is dispersed to municipalities based on population has increased this year by $29,291 Last year the total was $21,566 and this year it is $50,587.

Tobacco tax revenue so far this year is $18,604 which is down by $3,586 from last year, according to Smith.

The total income for the city overall is $3,238,987, down $19,060 from last year.

A bright spot during Smith’s presentation was the city’s payroll for this year which was $1,256,877, down $109,217 from last year.

At next week’s work session Smith will detail the city’s expenses in his budget process.

After the work session the council went into its regular meeting and voted to accept the Cleburne County E911 fee agreement of $75,755.62, which is five percent higher than last year’s amount of $72,148.21.

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.