Voters reject 7.5 mill tax increase plan

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
The latest plan to raise revenues in the city of Hartselle failed Tuesday, as voters opted not to raise property taxes even if a portion of the funds are earmarked to pay for school construction.
On Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly rejected a 7.5 mill property tax increase. The increase would have meant an additional $75 in taxes per $100,000 of assessed property.
Results show 1,987 people, or 67 percent, voted against the tax increase, with 996 people, or 33 percent, voting in favor of the proposal. The tax proposal failed at all voting boxes.
The tax increase plan called for the revenue it generated to be split three ways: 2.5 mills for road construction and maintenance; 2.5 mills for capital projects; and 2.5 mills for future school construction.
City officials hoped its share of the money would go towards several long-neglected projects. The city, which receives the bulk of its funding from sales tax receipts, completed a capital improvement plan in March. Money is not available to fund those projects, which include items such as airport upgrades, emergency sirens and construction of a fire station in the southern portion of town.
Another 2.5 mills would have gone towards securing grants and paying matching funds for road construction, including work at Thompson Road, the intersection of Bethel, Main and McClanahan streets and work on a northern bypass.
The portion earmarked for the school system would have been pledged towards the construction of a new high school. But the price tag for that could reach as high as $25 million and school and city officials conceded the tax increase was a drop in the bucket towards the total cost.
The property tax increase was the latest in a series of attempts to raise revenues in the city. Attempts to legalize alcohol sales or increase sales taxes were also defeated.
The plan's failure means Hartselle's property tax remains among the lowest in the state, with only 5 mills going to the city.

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