Shoals residents aren’t strangers to severe weather and this weekend they can save money purchasing items that could help them during a variety of emergency situations.
Most cities and counties in northwest Alabama are participating in the second statewide severe weather tax holiday that began at 12:01 a.m. today and ends at midnight Sunday.
Muscle Shoals did not waive its local sales taxes. Mayor David Bradford said City Council members have said they will consider approving the tax holiday in 2014.
The tax holiday gives shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain preparedness supplies without paying the state’s 4 percent sales tax. About 190 Alabama city and county governments also have agreed to participate by waiving their local sales taxes during this weekend.
“Severe weather is no longer limited to a season,” Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said.
“The next disaster could come at any time. The tax holiday helps Alabama consumers remember to be prepared.”
Eligible items must cost $60 or less. Generators that cost $1,000 or less also are eligible.
“People need to take this opportunity to stock up on the supplies they’ll need before, during and after severe weather,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “From NOAA weather radios to first aid kits and generators, these supplies can help you and your family stay safe.
“Alabama is vulnerable to several different forms of severe weather. Take the time now to plan ahead. If you wait until the storm strikes, it’s often too late.”
Eligible items include several types of batteries, including cellphone batteries and chargers; battery powered radios; weather radios; flashlights and lanterns; plywood; first aid kits; non-electric coolers or water storage containers; and gasoline and other fuel containers.
“We always encourage people to have a plan,” Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency Director George Grabryan said. “Common sense goes a long way with what you buy, how much you buy and what you’re going to do with it.”
While it is not covered under the tax holiday, Grabryan suggests residents stock extra non-perishable food items that does not require cooking.
“Most of our events are short-term here, but we have had some major ones,” he said.
A complete list of eligible items can be found on the Alabama Department of Revenue website at: www.revenue.alabama.gov/salestax/WPholiday.cfm
Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.