“No new taxes”- Huntsville leaders proposing school tax re-write

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - In a few months, people in Huntsville will be asked to say 'Yes' to a school property tax proposal but city leaders are promising it won't raise your taxes.

"I don't think anybody wants to go through this," Mayor Tommy Battle said describing the proposal.

Mayor Tommy Battle and city leaders are pushing for a re-write of a portion of the city tax code.

"The city of Huntsville collects 22 mills of property tax for education in our city schools," Mayor Battle said.

"Of just how one verbage piece in a constitutional amendment can have a bearing on the allotment we receive in school property taxes," Huntsville City Schools superintendent Christie Finley said.

Mayor Battle says there are three tax laws, one of which is 103 years old. They comprise 15 and a half mills.

"It's no new taxes, net tax zero," Mayor Battle said.

Mayor Battle says the changes in wording would include homeowners in Limestone and Morgan Counties -- whose annexed property now lies within the Huntsville city school district.

"They'll be voting to delete and then insert the second one," Mayor Battle said.

And leaders say they're relying on residents to get the word out.

"Through word of mouth. Because we rely on reaching out to parents through board meetings and PTA meetings and that one on one contact with parents so they can have that face to face," Finley said.

One hurdle to clear--the matter has to be OK'd by lawmakers in Montgomery before Huntsville voters have their say. Another hurdle--mayor battle says it would happen in a separate special election.

"It has to be on a special election on the second or fourth Tuesday. All of our upcoming elections are on the first Tuesday," Battle said.

City and school leaders will host a public hearing on the tax issue on Monday at 5:00 p.m. at city hall. Mayor Battle says if approved, the issue could be up for a vote later this summer or early fall.

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