Trussville City Schools wants property tax referendum

Property taxes may be going up. Trussville City Schools want to know whether the community will pay for two new elementary schools. The School Board wants a special election February 25th for a 7 mill property tax increase.

The two proposed elementary schools would ease overcrowding at Paine Primary and Intermediate Schools. There's also a plan to add a FEMA approved storm shelter in both schools for the community.

The future of Trussville City Schools could be in taxpayers hands. Superintendent Pattie Neill says, "We don't have a Plan B, there's not another funding source or revenue stream for school construction."

The school system has asked the city for a special election on a 7 mill property tax increase. The money would build a new elementary in the Magnolia Place community.. and turn Trussville's first high school into an elementary. The reason -- the current elementary has 300 students in modular buildings.

Neill says, "If there's a severe weather threat, we can't leave children in modular buildings, they have to come in. There's also an issue with school safety in terms of them not being inside a locked down facility."

Along with safety upgrades, the new schools would also have shelters that could hold hundreds of people. Forrest Bender says, "I have no problem paying a few extra dollars a month, a couple hundred a year even to make that happen for our school system and community."

Tonitia Brownlee says, "Yes for the school system and our kids education."

Not everyone would support a tax increase, but many are in favor of helping the school system. Neill says, "So the question now is do you want to leave things the way they are or go forward with the community school model."

Trussville Mayor Gene Melton says residents have received a survey which includes whether they would support a property tax increase, He says the council will be looking at responses before its decision.

If approved, the tax increase would cost an extra 70 dollars per year on 100-thousand dollars of the homes appraised value. The city council will address the request next month.