Tax plan sets aside money for new high school
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
The latest plan to increase city revenues proposes setting aside a portion of the money for construction of a new high school.
City Councilman Dick Carter is proposing to increase property takes from 5 mills to 10 mills. Two of the increased mills would be earmarked for the construction of a new high school.
Carter said the 2 mills would raise some $163,000 per year for the school system. The three remaining mills would raise $240,000 for the city.
The new school could cost as much as $30 million and will be needed in the next five to seven years. The city's contribution would be just a drop in the bucket, but it's a start, according to Carter.
"This would give us a jump start on building our school," he said.
That jump start wouldn't be large enough, according to Councilman Frank Jones.
"If we don't ask for at least 10 (additional) mills, we're not accomplishing what the schools need or what the city needs."
Mayor Clif Knight said his initial reaction to the plan was positive.
"I'm encouraged to see a support for an ad valorum tax," he said.
Since he began his term of office three years ago, Knight has favored a property tax increase over other forms of raising revenue. Several plans to raise property taxes have failed, however, as have efforts to raise sales taxes or legalize alcohol sales.
The city council has until February to draft and approve an ordinance to increase property taxes. The ordinance would then go the local Legislative Delegation and the State Legislature for its approval.
The property tax increase would then be voted on by city residents.