BUTLER COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - In a vote on Tuesday, Butler County residents struck down a potential six-mill ad valorem tax increase. Voters were given two amendments to vote on, each representing a three-mill increase.
According to Butler County officials, 1,131 voters voted for Amendment 3, while 3,364 voted against it. Similarly, 1,098 people voted for Amendment 202, while 3,370 voted against.
The funds from the increased tax would have gone to support the Butler County School System.
A six-mill increase would have cost the average Butler County homeowner, whose home has a market value of $75,000, an extra $3.75 per month. Butler County Schools Superintendent Dr. John Strycker said the money that would have come in from the increase, an estimated $1.4 million per year, would have helped the system get out of debt and help enhance curriculum and extracurricular programs.
Without this revenue, Strycker said the Butler County Board of Education will be forced to make cuts.
“This could impact student programs like athletics,” Strycker said. “We wanted this increase with those programs in mind. We could have to start charging for our pre-K offerings. Our staffing could be effected, in that we could see a reduction in classroom support staff and food service workers.”
Strycker said the system’s transportation could be impacted if the board decides to cut back on bus routes, which would result in children spending more time on the bus getting to and from schools.
“These are all broad examples,” Strycker said. “The board will have to look at the budget and make those specific decisions.”
Many residents were vocal about their opposition to the increase, even as early as last week during a community meeting concerning the issue against the increase. Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said he supports the school system, but he does not agree with “the way” the election happened.
“The city puts $800,000 to a million dollars in the schools already every year,” McClendon said, “We give money to the high school, put a police officer at the high school and middle school and put cars out for the football games. Nobody came to talk to us about this.”
In previous interviews, Strycker said he did not mean any offense by not meeting with elected officials. He said he felt it was a matter that should stay with the school system.
“I’ve been involved in public education for 40 years," McClendon said. “I believe in the school system. There are other ways to help fund the system. This wasn’t it. This was them shoving it down our throats.”
When asked if he would assist Butler County Schools with the “other” funding sources, McClendon said he was never approached by the system for help.