MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - With 94% percent of votes counted, Montgomery County voters have opted for a property tax increase.
The tax will increase from 10 mills to 22 mills. The average homeowner will see an increase of about $12 per month in property taxes.
The tax will be imposed on all property in Montgomery County, excluding the Pike Road school district. This includes businesses that own property and nongovernment-owned housing.
Local officials have been touting the increase as a much-needed benefit for public schools. The tax is expected to bring in an additional $33 million annually for Montgomery Public Schools starting in 2023.
School officials say they plan to rehabilitate school facilities, provide more professional development for educators, increase resources for students and teachers, strengthen STEM programs, hire more social and emotional and trauma-informed staff, and add pre-K, AP, art and music classes.
The additional $12 per month increase is based on the average home price in Montgomery County, which is roughly $127,000.
Renters might not see any increases to their rents or leases, however, it is possible that any tax increase could be passed on to the renters or leasers.
The referendum garnered support from leaders in city government, the school system, even local places of worship.
Multiple leaders sent statements following the Election Day results.
“We are overjoyed that Montgomery voters believe in what we are doing and want to see more of our children succeed. A lot has changed for MPS over the last few years. Our commitment to giving our 28,000 students and 4,000 employees the resources and academic opportunities to thrive remains a top priority. We look forward to moving forward together," said Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Ann Roy Moore.
“Today is a great day for our schools and for Montgomery. Over the course of this campaign, our system has strengthened relationships with numerous businesses, houses or worship, community organizations, and others that will only help MPS move forward. Our schools are strongest when we all work together, and I look forward to building on these relationships to help our students succeed in the days and years to come,” said Clare Weil, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education.
“Today, Montgomery voted to invest in our future and our work doesn’t end here. Access to high quality education is essential to our economic future and we are anxious to continue the collaborative partnerships that have formed across the community to create the most prosperous future for Montgomery,” said Arthur Ducote, chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I am very happy! This is a wonderful thing for our students, teachers, and the entire county as a whole. This vote for MPS shows our young people that the Montgomery community believes in them, supports them, and is eager to see them thrive. We are without a doubt committed to Montgomery Public Schools,” said Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean. “The Montgomery County Commission decided we were going to put forth the effort to get the much needed mils for our schools and we brought the team together to make that happen. I applaud all the Commissioners for putting aside their political party and raising their hand to place this on the ballot. The Commission’s unanimous vote showed this was a nonpartisan effort and had support from all walks of life. It was a great effort by all elected officials along with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and the business community. We are going to celebrate and then we are going to get to work to continue to move our schools forward.”
Not everyone sees the proposed tax increase as a good idea, though. The Auburn-based democracy reform organization Take Back Our Republic campaigned against the proposal, claiming it was rushed through.
MPS officials and parents say this is not true, and the referendum had passed the school board.