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Tax plan proceeding

By Staff
Public will get its say on 10-mill increase at Feb. 24 hearing
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
The public is getting its say on a plan to increase property taxes in Hartselle.
A public hearing on the property tax increase is scheduled for Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
The hearing will take place as part of the council's regular meeting.
The public hearing is a necessary step before the request to set a date for a referendum on the tax increase can go to the State Legislature. City officials said they would like to hold the referendum on Aug. 24, the same time as the municipal elections.
The proposal calls for a 10-mill tax increase, with 7 mills going to the city and 3 mills set aside for future school construction needs.
And while the city is going ahead with the hearing, members of the Local Legislative Delegation said they won't approve setting a referendum because they council's request to do so wasn't unanimous.
The council split 4-2 on the request to the legislature, with Councilman Alvin Abercrombie and Mayor Clif Knight voting against the resolution.
The stance the legislative delegation is taking is a rare problem in a usually harmonious relationship between the city and the legislators. Councilman Frank Jones said he thought it was important that the people have their say on the tax plan and the only way for that to happen was to hold a vote.
"We're not going to pass anything," Jones said about the council requesting the referendum. "We're just giving the people the right to vote."
At 5 mills, Hartselle's current property tax is equal to the lowest in the state. Currently, a $100,000 home generates $50 for the city's general fund. If the increase is approved, the homeowner would pay $150, with $30 going to the school system and $120 to the city.
Comments from the public will be heard at the Feb. 24 meeting. Comments may also be submitted in writing at City of Hartselle, attn. Rita Lee, City Clerk/Controller, 200 Sparkman Street, Hartselle, AL 35640 or emailed to rlee@hartelle.org.

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