Fines to be imposed when tobacco taxes not paid



Sale of products like this pack of cigarettes, bearing the 10-cent Blount County tax stamp, largely fund the school resource officer program at county schools.

Sale of products like this pack of cigarettes, bearing the 10-cent Blount County tax stamp, largely fund the school resource officer program at county schools.

Effective immediately, the Blount County Commission will impose fines against vendors selling tobacco products without the local county tax stamp affixed as required by law. Tobacco products requiring stamps include such items as cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco, and packages of bulk tobacco.

Products found during routine inspection not bearing the stamps will be confiscated. They may be redeemed by purchasing the necessary tax stamps at the county commission office and paying the fine. The fine must be paid even if the products are not redeemed.

The fine for a first offense is $250. For a second offense, it is $500. For a third offense, and for all subsequent offenses, it is $750.

On May 16, the Alabama Legislature passed the local act which allows the commission to levy fines on unstamped tobacco products in Blount County. The tobacco tax was initially imposed in 2004 by a vote of Blount County citizens.

It was created to directly fund the compensation of school resource officers, law enforcement officers assigned to full-time duty at the county’s public schools. In years past, the tax has produced sufficient revenues to completely fund or substantially fund the school resource officer program, at a cost of approximately $450,000 annually.