Next Steps for Ad Valorem Tax in Montgomery County
The Montgomery County Commission voted Tuesday in favor of a proposal to increase the ad valorem tax on all taxable property in Montgomery County.
The money raised from the tax would benefit Montgomery Public Schools.
The Montgomery County Commission has voted in support of a property tax hike but that doesn’t mean the tax is in place just yet. The commission doesn’t have the power to approve the tax hike on its own. The vote was just another step in the process where voters where get the final say.
“Public school systems are funded through property taxes and the property tax rate that the schools are funded are done on a millage basis,” explained Montgomery County Commission Vice Chairman, Ronda Walker.
As a part of standard procedure, MPS proposed a millage or tax increase to the county commission. After holding a public hearing, the county voted 3-2 in favor of the resolution.
“The resolution is simply a statement given from the county commission to the legislature,” said Walker.
The statement will then be crafted into a bill and presented to the state legislature but it will be led by the Montgomery County Delegation.
“That’s the next step in the process. So if the legislature says yes, this can go to a public referendum then it will appear on a ballot in Montgomery County,” said Walker.
The voters will then have the final say on the proposed tax hike which would ultimately raise an additional $33 million a year for MPS.
“The school system needs it. When you talk about $250 million worth of deferred maintenance and the dilapidated schools that we have,” said Montgomery County Chairman, Elton Dean.
However, some have voiced concerns after audit was released showing over $700,000 missing from school funds.
“Most people who said that they don’t want it, say that they don’t want it because they don’t feel that there is enough accountability built in with regard to the money. They want to support education but they want to make sure the leadership in Montgomery Public Schools is doing their job,” said Walker.
Political Analyst Steve Flowers says while the bill would have to go before both the full House and Senate, if the lawmakers from Montgomery County say they want it, then chances are the lawmakers from other parts of the state will say “yes” to it as a courtesy. However, there is no guarantee.
County Commission Chairman Elton Dean tells Alabama News Network that he is hopeful the tax hike might get on the ballot in November.