LaFayette decides not to pull back police jurisdiction

Published 8:00 am Saturday, September 30, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

During Thursday’s council meeting, the LaFayette City Council decided not to adopt an ordinance to pull back its police jurisdiction to its city limits in response to the state law which prevents them from collecting taxes in the area.

The decision not to pull back the police jurisdiction by the Oct. 1 deadline means that LaFayette will continue serving the area without collecting taxes for the next year.

The VTN previously reported that based on the fiscal year 2022 revenue, City Clerk Louis Davidson estimated the city would lose approximately $152,000. 

Email newsletter signup

City Attorney Joseph Tucker said that some other municipalities who missed the initial deadline were allowed to continue collecting taxes as long as they made the deadline for the second report in March. 

The law, Act 2021-297, required municipalities to submit an annual report to the Department of Revenue on the taxes collected in the police jurisdiction. The deadline, which both Lanett and LaFayette missed, was March 1. 

There were 127 municipalities in the state of Alabama that missed the March deadline. According to Tucker, municipalities like Alexander City and Wetumpka were among the largest to miss the deadline.

Tucker said the ordinance would be irreversible and that there is a possibility the “disparate treatment by the state” may lead to further legislation amending or overruling the original law. 

“So while there’s still some uncertainty concerning the possibility of our right to collect taxes being reinstated, if we did pull back now, then we would not be able to move back out into the police jurisdiction,” Tucker said. “There is rumors, talk, possibilities that there will be additional legislation.”

Mayor Kenneth Vines said that he didn’t want an ordinance abolishing the police jurisdiction to limit any potential “expansion” the city might pursue in the future. 

The city is still able to annex in the police jurisdiction, according to Tucker.

Davidson said that the police department wouldn’t likely be affected by the decision. Currently, there are two patrol officers during the evening shift and four total during the day shift, which wouldn’t be decreased by pulling back the police jurisdiction. 

LaFayette Police Chief George Rampey said approximately 85% of calls come from within city limits with only 15-20% coming from the police jurisdiction. 

The city of Lanett recently passed the ordinance to pull back its jurisdiction. Lanett has 30 days to give notice to the county and then on Jan. 1 the county will be able to extend its equalization tax to that area.