MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery County’s House delegation has come to an agreement on a proposed property tax referendum that would benefit Montgomery Public Schools, according to some lawmakers.
The bill is expected on the House floor Thursday. If lawmakers pass the bill, it will go to Montgomery County voters for final approval.
Republican Rep. Reed Ingram, who initially said he would block the bill before the House vote, said he will no longer contest it if the bill includes an amendment that changes the date of when the tax can be levied.
“I have come to an agreement not to contest the bill but will still be voting no,” Ingram said.
Democratic Rep. Kirk Hatcher, who sponsored the bill, said it has been challenging to reach this agreement, but called it a “good fight because it is for the children of Montgomery County.”
“If we intend to move the community forward in a healthy way, if we are going to attract industry, we have to do something,” Hatcher said.
Ingram said he will not contest the bill if they bring an amendment on the floor pushing back when the additional tax would be levied.
Hatcher said the amendment would move the levy of the tax to Oct. 1, 2021.
Hatcher, who is a former educator, admitted Montgomery Public Schools has had its issues.
“We are not deciding that here. That decision goes to the people. And if we’re not willing to let the people make this decision, then that is a big question for us,” Hatcher said.
The bill would increase the ad valorem tax on all taxable property in Montgomery County except the town limits of Pike Road.
The proposed increase would result in an additional $33 million in revenue each year for MPS, which is an estimated increase of $12.75 per month in property taxes for the average family, according to MPS.
MPS leaders are in full support of the referendum.
“There are several things we need to do. We’ve created plans to strengthen our academic programs. Students should have an array of academic course offerings and the latest technology resources. We want to challenge our students to perform at a higher academic level. Also, we have a desperate need to repair our school buildings,” said Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore. “Our children should not be sitting in buildings that are falling apart. They should be able to walk into their schools and not worry about the heater or air conditioner not working properly. We’re doing all that we can at the moment. We have worked to put several checkpoints in place to ensure we’re aligned with all state guidelines. But the students need more. The students of Montgomery deserve a quality education in an environment that will allow them to learn.”