Clay leaders create city's first property tax - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Clay leaders create city's first property tax

The Clay City Council. Source: WBRC video The Clay City Council. Source: WBRC video

Clay city leaders voted on Monday to create the city's first property tax.

The money was supposed to have been for the general fund budget but by the end of the city council meeting, it was designated for the formation of a school system.

A couple of the councilers wanted this money specifically earmarked and not just for general funding. One of them said they'd like to see it go towards education and then the language of the ordinance was changed to use the money to start a school system.

If the money had gone into the general fund, a lot of it would have been used to repair Clay's aging roadways. For those repairs the city will now have to use what they have in savings and bonds which only comes to about 10 percent of the total cost.

"We're mandated to maintain the roads, and the storm sewers. And we'll just have to do it at a slower pace. Really what we'll have to do is be reactive rather than proactive," said City Manager Ronnie Dixon.

Even with this vote, councilors said that forming a new school system isn't in the near future.

What the council approved tonight was a 5 mil property tax but it's going to take a lot more money than that to form a school system.

Mayor Charles Webster estimates that it would take a 15 mil tax to form a school system and that amount of money will have to be voted on by residents of Clay.

If that measure does not pass, this money would then go towards public safety, specifically to form a police department.

Mayor Webster voted for the tax but he does tell me he still has some reservations.

"I'm okay with that, I wish it had gone another way, just because I hate to restrict it to that at one time. Just like I told everybody I want to be a good stewart of the money," Mayor Charles Webster said.

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