BUTLER COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - On January 29th people living in Butler County will vote on a proposed property tax increase that would give a boost to its schools system.
Thursday night the Butler County school system hosted an open forum regarding the upcoming Ad Valorem Tax Election. More than 100 people were in attendance.
Residents brought their questions and concerns before school leaders. The goal of this discussion was to help residents make an informed decision when they head to the polls.
Among those who oppose the tax or are on the fence, are some who say they plan to vote ‘yes.’
"We have gotten off pretty cheaply for a long time, so I think it is catching up with us," said Greg Griffin.
Griffin is a product of this school system. He said knowing the the proposed property tax increase worth 6 mills would generate around $1.4 million a year for the school system helped him make his decision.
"This increase is very important. We will be in a mess without it," said Griffin.
Butler County Schools Superintendent Dr. John Strycker understands this is a controversial subject, but believes some of the resistance comes from one thing.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there,” said Strycker.
According to Strycker, the Butler County school system currently ranks 133 out of 137 school systems in the state in terms of local funding support. A 6 mill hike on a $75,000 home would mean an extra $3.75 per month for the individual. The money generated from the tax would help reduce a $31 million debt, fund resource curriculum, and fund extra curricular activities.
“We feel strongly our students deserve better than some of the lowest local funding," said Strycker.
As the vote gets closer Strycker and members of the board are focused on continuing to express the necessity of these efforts and the benefit it could have on the community.
“If we want businesses to come into our community, we need good schools this will really help us to move our school forward," said Lois Robinson, board president.
The superintendent said if the tax increase fails they will only have one option, making significant cuts.