Midfield City Council and School Board argue over Ad Valorem Tax

A fight over tax money in Midfield- is putting the school system and city leaders at odds. {}School leaders say they need ad valorem tax money for programs and athletics, but the city says it was only used to pay debt and that {}the police and fire departments need the cash even more."I request that you don't take tax money from the Midfield city schools," Antonia Bonner, a 9 year old student said. "Our education is very important."9 year old Antonia Bonner's words {}before the Midfield City Council, parents and school leaders- echo what this crowd - the biggest in a decade - came to say."We need those programs for the children," Pam Upshaw, a parent said. "It helps children to grow. It helps them become leaders.""I'm not so sure that the Superintendent is running the schools," Mayor Gary Richardson told the crowd.Midfield City Schools say taking the ad valorem tax away would be devastating- {}meaning the loss of programs, sports and career readiness classes."It's a big impact on my family because these are the things that they need as an outlet for them after school," Cenetta Williams, a grandparent said.But Mayor Gary Richardson says there's a mis-communication. That money is used to pay school debt and the system has a healthy budget."They have more than tree months of operating reserves, $2 million in cash, $4.4 million in cash for capital funding and the fear and misinformation is disheartening," Richardson said.{}The police and fire chiefs say they need the cash to hire new officers and {}replace well-worn patrol cars and fire trucks."We need those funds to service you to protect you so we won't lose anymore six year olds," Larry Manning, Midfield Fire Chief said.{}"We've been borrowing from Peter to pay Paul," Richardson said. "We've been juggling because we don't have enough money, we've been trying to get by."The Midfield school system filed a lawsuit against the city in December. And council members say they cannot discuss any further details until the suit is resolved.