Ivey signs bill to potentially increase property taxes in Pike Road

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 12:07 PM CDT
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PIKE ROAD, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey has signed a bill that could increase property taxes in Pike Road to support its education system.

HB 591 proposes a 25.5 millage tax increase, though 6.5 mills of that would be the replacement of a current tax. That means the actual increase would be 19 mills.

Pike Road Schools currently gets 16 of the town’s 49 mills in taxes and 10 mills from the state.

The proposal is asking for an additional 19 mills on top of the 26 mills Pike Road Schools currently collects, bringing the total millage to 45.

If the tax increase is approved by voters, this would mean an additional $15.83 per month in property taxes for a home with an assessed value of $100,000, but more for homes valued higher.

Pike Road Schools Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter said the Pike Road Board of Education is beginning talks with the Montgomery County Commission to decide a date for the special election.

Ledbetter said the additional 19 mill increase would bring in approximately $50 million to the school system for the construction of a new high school.

“This is to build a new high school and that’s all it’s for,” Ledbetter said.

School leaders said the town of Pike Road is growing and they are in need of more room for their students.

“We definitely have the need. We’re growing very fast,” Ledbetter said. “As far as inside brick and mortar and not just virtual, we’re the fastest growing school system in the state. So we have to plan far enough out to be able to meet that need as it comes to us.”

And that means building a new high school for grades nine through 12 and keeping the current Georgia Washington campus for grades six through eight. Something a property tax increase would help them accomplish.

“We know that we’re going to outgrow this facility very quickly. We’re not looking to replace a facility that we currently have, we’re looking to make sure we have enough space, additional space, for the growth of our school system,” Ledbetter said.

“We anticipate the facility we would like to build to house somewhere between 1,200 to 1,500 students and so based on the math and kind of the values and assessments that we’ve put together we believe that that’s a fairly conservative number, the 19 mills generating approximately $50 million,” said Ray Hawthorne, Pike Road school board president. “Because we don’t want to over ask, we want to ask for exactly what we need. We want to be good stewards of our money as a school board and as a school system.”

Mayor Gordon Stone said a new high school is needed for a progressing community.

“I think as people investigate this and people understand this and understand how it adds to the value of our community, and the long term 25 years out, as well as the practical value for today, I think people of Pike Road will make the right decision. and that’s how we’ve gotten here and that’s what’s exciting about moving forward,” Stone said.

Should the property tax be approved by voters, the tax increase would go into affect beginning Oct. 1, 2022. The school system hopes for the new high school to be built in four years and to break ground on the new facility in two years. Where the new school will be built has not been decided.

The Pike Road resolution was carried in the legislature by state Rep. Charlotte Meadows, who is a former Montgomery school board member and currently on the board at Lead Academy, a charter school in Montgomery.

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