Elmore County tax increase heading for special election consideration

Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 8:15 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2022 at 10:30 PM CST
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WETUMPKA, Ala. (WSFA) - After a public hearing Monday, the Elmore County Commission voted unanimously in favor of a property tax increase to support the school system, public safety, public health and broadband.

A request will now be made to the Alabama Legislature to set a special election for the increase.

“Excited that we’ve made it past this point and that we had the support of the County Commission to take the vote potentially to the people,” said Elmore County Superintendent Richard Dennis. “I think that’s really what the message came out of this meeting.”

“We are not the ultimate decision-maker,” said Elmore County Commission Chairmen Troy Stubbs. “The people are the ultimate decision-maker, and I think that people will appreciate the opportunity over the next 10 or 11 months to evaluate the merits of this proposal.”

The decision came after debate among residents. Some are in opposition to an increase, saying now is not the time.

“We’re taxed enough already,” one resident said.

“Is now the time to try and squeeze more money from the hard-working families in Elmore County?” asked another resident.

“I’m asking you to leave the landowners alone, because that’s their investment,” added another resident.

Meanwhile, those in support asked the commission to vote in favor of the increase and allow the people decide.

“I would encourage you to put students first in this county because they are our future,” said one resident.

“Give the people the opportunity to vote,” said another.

The school system currently collects 10 mills in property taxes. The Board of Education is asking for 8 mills, but one mill is about to expire. That would make the total 17 mills.

If passed in a special election, the additional 7 mills would bring in about $7 million more a year to the school system. Nine percent of funds would go to Tallassee City Schools.

According to the Elmore County school board, for a residential property with an appraised value of $100,000, a property owner can expect to pay $100 more per year in property taxes. Under this proposal, $80 would be invested into the education system, while $20 would be invested in public safety, public health and broadband.

Superintendent Dennis said he hopes the special election would take place in early 2023.

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