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Future of property tax votes could soon be in the hands of Homewood voters

Homewood could be exempt from the state's "Lid Law" if Jefferson County voters vote in favor of Local Amendment One.

The Nov. 6 election is just a few short weeks away, and the future of property tax votes in Homewood boils down to a "Yes" or "No" vote.

The Jefferson County ballot features a local amendment that if majority of voters vote "Yes," the city will be able to hold a citywide vote at appropriate times for property tax increases or decreases, as opposed to leaving it up to the state legislature. Last October, Homewood City Council gave their thumbs up in having the city exempt from the state's "Lid Law." Earlier this week, Homewood City Schools furthered their support to the cause by funding up to $280,000 for the campaign leading up to the vote.

Superintendent of Homewood City Schools, Dr. Bill Cleveland says there are no property tax increases on the horizon, but adds that this is a vote for the future.

"This is about removing the handcuffs that have been placed on Homewood by the politicians in Montgomery," Superintendent Cleveland said. "It is giving the power to the citizens of Homewood to decide what they want to do in the future. Local control for the citizens of Homewood is what this is all about."

Almost 20 years ago, the city hit its cap on mills at 75. Of that 75 mills, 37.5 goes towards the school system. The bill to allow residents to vote on this amendment was signed into law back on March 6 after it passed out of the Alabama House and Senate during the recent legislative session. Homewood City Council President Pro-Tem and Ward 5 City Councilman, Peter Wright, said the Nov. 6 vote is a "one-time shot" in giving control to the voters of Homewood.

"I would think that we, as independent voters and having the sacred right to vote, that the people 'ought to have the right to decide," Wright said. "We appreciate the state legislature giving us this opportunity to bring it to a constitutional referendum to see if the residents of the county are willing to support Homewood in this effort."

If majority of voters vote in favor of the ballot item, Homewood will join Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills and Huntsville as cities that are exempt from the state's "Lid Law."

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