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Letters to the Editor

By Staff
Schools should live within means
Editor:
I am writing this letter to all the citizens of Hartselle who will vote in the upcoming election concerning the new property taxes and the half-cent sales tax. In my opinion, there are some major discrepancies in what we were told and what the real case will be. In all probability, the new high school will cost much more than the $30 million the city School Board has said, possibly even double that amount. They admit they arrived at this figure at least two, maybe three years ago. As tax-paying citizens, we deserve to know the truth, however painful that figure might be.
Another major issue for all citizens is taxes will go up on rental property. Those who own rental property were just this year forced to buy a business license, even though they do not own or operate a business in their building. Along with this and tax increases, it is logical to presume that rent will have to go up and ultimately the consumer will pay for this because the business person will be forced to increase prices to pay for their own rising costs.
Add to this the half-cent sales tax on every item you purchase (with the exception of prescription drugs). This includes the necessities of life, food, clothing, school supplies, etc. In many cases, the tax will amount to 9 cents on the dollar, as it will go to the next highest amount rather than down. For instance, if your tax amounts to $4.8877 you will pay the higher $4.89 not the lower $4.87. On major expenses, this will add up quickly.
The new school also requires new roads and those who live in Hartselle are well aware that the existing streets and roads are not currently being properly maintained, without adding the major expense of the new ones.
The city School Board has said they will raise tuition for out-of-town students but we wonder just how much they will raise it. Will it be equal to the highest property tax that property owners in Hartselle will pay under the next tax? It certainly should be but it is very doubtful that it will be. The alleged $77 per year average tax increase is on property appraised between $107,000 and $110,000 but that is far less than what many citizens will be paying. Beyond this, our property taxes will continue to rise. As the state reappraises property each year, new taxes are based on the new appraisals.
Add to all of this, taxes in automobiles, boats, anything that requires a tag will go up. Medical and dental costs will likely go up as well, since the tax increase will add to the cost of living for virtually everyone who resides or shops in Hartselle.
As I see it, the bottom line is this: the school system in Hartselle needs to learn to live within its means. We taxpayers have to live within our means or we are soon in trouble. The school system should be no more exempt from living within its means than we are. The very bottom line is this: When you go to vote on March 11, ask yourself, “Can I afford the new school and all the cost-of-living increases which accompany it?” Some can and many cannot. The decision is up to the tax-paying citizens of Hartselle.
Whatever your feelings, exercise your right and privilege. Go to the polls and vote your convictions.
Jeanette Groover
Hartselle
Former critic changes vote to “yes”
Editor:
My name is Rick Caniglia. I live in Hartselle. We are to vote on a tax increase to fund a new high school. I have become famous in your paper for saying that we didn't have enough information to make a decision.? Well, I have listened to the school board and I have read the newspapers and I have decided. I will vote 'Yes' on March 11th; we all should.
What convinced me? First, I think Hartselle will continue to grow. We are becoming a bedroom community for Huntsville, not just Decatur. More people, more children. Each of the schools, from elementary through high school is at or nearly at capacity. Having run a school for the Army, I can tell you that innovative shuffling of students only goes so far-and not very far, at that. You can't exceed the rated capacity of a school by much without going to extra shifts or getting rid of summer vacation.
My kids are grown, but I don't think many parents would like to see a 12-month school year or their kids on mid-shift. That's how I had to solve this same problem. Fine for the Army; not fine for school children.
Is a new high school the right solution? Well, new high school is shorthand for comprehensive facilities plan. A school system is too interconnected to build a school in isolation.
I've heard folks suggest we buy portable trailers as classrooms. No school anywhere refers to trailers in any way but temporary. Whatever our needs are, they are not temporary; population growth tells us that. The vote is for a well-thought-out comprehensive plan that sets Hartselle up for the future.
The details make sense to me when Dr. Dukes explains them. The board are being good stewards of resources, not spendthrifts. When should we buy more capacity? Now. It won't get cheaper if we wait. Being close to capacity, waiting gains nothing. How should we fund the new facilities plan? The school board has facts that show eliminating out-of-district students won't help. It will not begin to offset expected population growth. Likewise, the city estimates that liquor tax revenues won't come close to covering the cost.A sales tax can bring significant revenue, but one high enough to pay for things alone would drive all of us to shop elsewhere. That leaves us with a property tax or a combination of sales and property taxes, which is what our city council has proposed. I'll pay my fair share.
City growth tells us we will outgrow our school facilities within several years. Experience tells me that work-arounds are temporary measures at best.
Common sense tells us that construction won't get cheaper and economics tell us that a combination of taxes is the most realistic means of funding. Taxes are a burden, but not a great burden for what we get in return.
What do we get for taking on this tax? We get facilities with broad learning options that will help all our young citizens get good jobs – office work, trade work, farm jobs, science, management, business, teaching, and more. The facilities plan allows for a range of programs to serve every student need, those good with their heads and those good with their hands.
If we don't support the facilities plan, all students, all Hartselle, will suffer as our kids' learning opportunities fail to keep pace with those who will compete with them for jobs and opportunities. Quality education requires a positive environment and that means quality facilities. Positive educational experiences breed success. Successful citizens make Hartselle and America strong.
Vote yes
Rick Caniglia
Hartselle
Library thanks club for support
Editor:
The William Bradford Huie Library would like to thank the members of The Current Review Club for their generous donation. We are planning to use the money to purchase a computer for public use. We appreciate The Current Review Club and their dedication to help the library every year. Sincerely,
Emily Love
William Bradford Huie Library of Hartselle
Pastor issues invitation
Editor:
If you love God and want to worship him in a casual atmosphere, come visit us at the Chapel for Worship Services. We have worship services at the Hartselle Wedding Chapel every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. We have Bible study and childrens’ service on Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m.
Everyone is welcome!
We would like to invite you to come early on Sunday mornings and enjoy a cup of coffee and donut with us. We start our free breakfast fellowship around 10 a.m. If you are not currently in church, we would love to have you join us. If you are looking for a place to serve God and you are dedicated to his work, we would love to have you too. We also need a keyboard player. God will use you here, so come and help us.
You may bring a tape, CD, Bible verse, poem, and anything else you may want to share that will be a blessing to God’s people or just come and enjoy a blessing.
Rev. Bill Partridge &family
Hartselle
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