TO TAX OR NOT TO TAX

BY RAY VAN COR

The Greenville Standard

 

An open forum debate on the proposed Advolerm tax increase was held this past Thursday night at the Board of Education. The issue has spurned serious debate and concerns across the spectrum.

There were over a hundred concerned citizens present to include WSFA channel 12 who was present to cover the meeting.

There were many speakers to include Doctor Aubrey Stabler. Stabler stated that, “Never has there been a suggested increase of this size before and according to his math, a six mil increase from 12 to 18 mils was a 50 percent increase in taxes and was quick to point out that this was going cost the Butler County tax payers an additional $60,000 for the  referendum vote

Board member and Attorney Brandon Sellers described his position and wanted to insure the gallery that it wasn’t a 50 percent property tax increase as a whole.

Sellers posted a rather lengthy break down and his opinions on Face Book citing that Superintendent John Strycker doesn’t control how the tax dollars are spent, the school board does.

He further cited since being elected to the board, members have made efforts to cut spending and that the school system was suffering long before they arrived.

There were plenty more notable comments to include blaming the 2013 Alabama Accountability Act and the legislature in 2015 both for removing $570,000 dollars from the school system.

Strycker stated, “I truly care for these kids and either way the vote goes, we have a plan to move forward.”

Additional speakers stated they didn’t mind paying if it meant a child could have books for school. While another stated, that Butler County didn’t generate enough revenue to withstand such a tax.”

After the meeting was adjourned one of the attendees was overheard to say, “They need to make cuts and start with Strycker’s salary.”

The general election held on Nov. 6, 2018 cost Butler County $52,322.97 with an expected state reimbursement of $30,523.99.

There will be no reimbursement from the state for the special election. Should the Ad Valorem tax pass the county will collect four percent of the increase in taxes and the money will go towards the general fund.

The current property rate for property is 30 mils. There are three categories of properties whose assessment varies. Commercial is at 30 percent. Rental is at 20 percent. Homestead and agricultural/forest is assessed at 10 percent.

Mobile homes (unless they are placed on private land which increases the value of the property) and boats are not assessed a property tax which is applied to schools.

Land, homes, buildings, cars, trucks, and trailers are currently assessed 12 mils which go to the Butler County School System.

According to Strycker, if the tax passes the county will be reimbursed for the special election. He also indicated the priorities for future expenditures of funds collected from the tax will be towards paying down debt, curriculum, and extra-curricular activities, in that order.

Programs that may be affected if the tax does not pass may include: athletics, technology supplements, AmericCorps, Pre-K and JROTC. Other areas may include staff reductions.

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