MADISON, Ala. -- The unofficial tally is in, with over 6,000 people voting in favor of a 12-mil property tax increase for Madison City Schools.
The increase, estimated to fund an additional $8.4 million in annual revenue, will be aimed primarily at new school construction, along with expansion of Madison's two high schools and new instructional programs and safety, according to the school system.
With one bubble to fill out, it didn't take most voters in Madison and Triana long to decide on Tuesday.
"We need to continue to keep the school system at that high level," Madison resident Larry Forrest said.
For most teachers and families, the 12 mill ad valorem tax increase was a no-brainer--even if paying higher taxes proves a bitter pill to swallow.
"I bit my lip and I said, 'Yes', I'll support the students and I'll support the town," Forrest said.
"Resources when it comes to facilities would help so much," Madison resident Alicia Mulloy said. "I mean, they're using every single room in every building."
School leaders and supporters from Madison Forward say they were confident. But more than 6,500 'Yes' votes gave the tax proposal a 2-to-1 margin.
The tax proposal passed, which the school district will use to build new schools to deal with a rising enrollment, now at over 11,700 kids.
"You need to acquire the property and begin the design for the new schools. I think it should be started immediately," Forrest said.
"We're ready to move. We'll be in New York at the end of this month preparing to borrow money," Madison City Schools Superintendent Robby Parker said.
The money, Parker says will be used to build three new schools.
"We plan to open the new elementary school in August of 2021," Parker said.
Parker says a new middle school will open one year later. He says some of the site work could begin next month.
Madison taxpayers currently pay 57.5 mils in overall property taxes. The 12-mil increase would bring that to 69.5 mils.
A mil can be measured as $1 for every $1000 of a property's assessed value. So, a Madison home assessed at $200,000 currently has a property bill at $1,150. The proposed 12-mil increase would increase that figure to $1,390, a $240 increase.
School officials say the property tax hike is needed to help keep up with growth in the school system.
The vote now has to be certified by the city council. That's expected to happen next week. The new tax would take effect next October.
Unofficials results from the vote:
- District 1 results: 793 'Yes' and 310 'No' votes
- District 2 results: 652 'Yes' and 184 'No' votes
- District 3 results: 395 'Yes' and 221 'No' votes
- District 4 results: 504 'Yes' and 224 'No' votes
- District 5 results: 783 'Yes' and 482 'No' votes
- District 6 results: 683 'Yes' and 395 'No' votes
- District 7 results: 1,100 'Yes' and 491 'No' votes
- Triana results: 272 'Yes' and 43 'No' votes
- Limestone District 1 results: 936 'Yes' and 296 'No' votes
- Limestone District 2 results: 332 'Yes' and 78 'No' votes
- Absentee Ballots: 125 'Yes' and 48 'No' votes