Tax renewal approachesPublished 7:25pm Friday, January 17, 2014
Editor’s note: This is the first of four articles explaining an upcoming ad valorem tax renewal vote.
On Feb. 11, county voters will be tasked with whether or not to renew three ad valorem taxes that fund county and city schools.
Tallapoosa County Schools Superintendent Joe Windle said that the important thing for voters to consider is that this is not a new tax.
“This is a tax renewal – these taxes have been around more than 60 years,” Windle said. “We aren’t asking for an increase. We only want to renew what citizens have been giving us.”
The last time the tax was renewed was 1986.
Superintendent Darrell Cooper, with the Alexander City School System, explained that a total of three taxes will be up for renewal.
“We have a total of 7.5 mills up for renewal,” Cooper said. “It is actually three separate taxes.”
All voters will decide whether to renew two countywide taxes, which are a 1.5 mil and a 3.0 mil tax.
“Each school system also has its own district specific tax up for renewal,” Cooper said.
Both Tallapoosa County Schools and Alexander City Schools have their own 3-mil tax up for renewal, Cooper said.
“These taxes are absolutely critical,” Windle said.
Both city and county schools each have 15 mils of property tax dedicated to them. As Windle explained, however, not all of this money can be used for discretionary spending. The state requires school systems have at least 10 mils of property tax, which are used for the state’s foundation program.
“We have to share this money with the state to pay teachers,” Windle said. “We give 10 mils back up front.”
Cooper said that city schools also give 10 mils back to the state up front.
“We are responsible for paying for 10 mills through local revenue,” Cooper said. “These funds are used to run our schools effectively and pay for teacher salaries and benefits.”
Windle said the county schools are also required to give an additional 1.02 mils or so to the state to share in the cost for capital outlay dollars.
“We have 15 mils of property tax, but we give back 11 mils to the state,” Windle said.