Pike Road residents weigh in ahead of Tuesday’s property tax vote
PIKE ROAD, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s a debate between residents of Pike Road - to vote in favor or against an increase in property taxes to help fund a brand new high school for Pike Road Schools.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Pike Road homeowner Lindsey Gamble. “I think that with the growth in Pike Road that you just don’t have any other options.”
“I mean, if it happens it happens, but I don’t agree with it,” said Pike Road homeowner Bryan Washington. “Pike Road is doing pretty good already from what I see. Why would they hike the taxes up?”
Pike Road residents will hit the polls Tuesday to cast their votes in the special election that could result in an increase in property taxes over the next 30 years.
Pike Road Schools are asking residents to vote in favor of a 19 mill property tax increase which would finance bonds that would provide about $50 million to build a brand new high school.
The school system is asking for more than double what they collect now. 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 the system currently collects, bringing the total millage to 45.
If 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, or $190 more per year. The increase would be more for homes valued higher.
“We hope everybody will turn out and vote,” said Pike Road School Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter.
Ledbetter is hopeful and optimistic residents will vote in favor. He said the extra classroom space is needed.
“This revenue source is all about building a high school for Pike Road, and it doesn’t replace any of the schools we currently have. It’ll all be new classroom space, and we’ll continue to use all the classroom space we have,” Ledbetter said. “But we are the fastest growing school system in the state, and we’re going to continue to need to be able to meet that need.”
To accommodate the growing number of students now, the Georgia Washington campus has new modular classroom units out back. Ledbetter said if the school doesn’t get the funds, more will need to be added.
“We would continue to have to add more modular units, more trailer classrooms, to be able to meet our need for growth,” Ledbetter added.
“It’s always been our awareness that as we grew we wanted to focus and emphasize education, and so as we’ve continued to be blessed by people choosing to make Pike Road their hometown, we’ve also been excited to see that many have chosen to make the school system a part of their lives, and as a result of that it’s just been a natural next step to try to build a high school. This allows us to have the resources to do that,” said Pike Road Mayor Gordon Stone.
The future of the school system now lies in the hands of voters who will ultimately have the final say.
Pike Road Town Hall will serve as the single polling location for pike road residents Tuesday. Doors will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. City officials are asking residents to take a second to stop by and cast their ballots.
Should the property tax be approved by voters, the tax increase would go into affect beginning Oct. 1, 2022. Tax collections would begin Oct. 1, 2023.
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