HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Huntsville voters will cast their ballots for mayor, city council, school board in four days. There's something else on the ballot, too -- an item asking you to renew an ad valorem tax.
The tax vote is needed to determine if money put aside for Huntsville City Schools will continue after 2015. It's not a new tax. Residents have been paying it since 1956.
Click here to see a sample ballot for Huntsville's August 28 election.
School buildings in Huntsville get built and renovated based on property value. The owner of a home worth $100,000 pays $65 a year.
"We think of it as a Happy Meal a month that they are giving to Huntsville City Schools to help fund the capital projects," said Rena Anderson, the school district's Director of Community Engagement.
Homeowners pay less than half of the money generated by this tax. Business owners pay most of it.
"For the business community to support this says this is important and we are willing to put in our share," said Lucia Cape, Vice President of the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce.
Representatives with the Chamber and Huntsville City Schools want voters to know the ad valorem tax is not a new tax.
"People think oh no, it is a new tax, or an increase, which it is neither," said Anderson. "This is a continuation of an existing property tax."
School district records show the property tax generates $14 to 16 million a year in extra revenue for schools.
"That's a heavy impact that a lot of our classrooms would take if we were not able to renew this existing property tax," said Anderson.
Huntsville voters last renewed the tax in 1985.
Six candidates are running Huntsville Board of Education. Each say they support the ad valorem tax renewal.