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Gardendale’s upcoming tax vote: What you need to know

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 8:23 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2022 at 9:42 AM CDT
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GARDENDALE, Ala. (WBRC) - In April, Gardendale residents will vote on an ad valorem tax that generates more than $2 million for local schools. It’s a complicated tax issue that’s caused significant confusion, but We’re On Your Side with the information.

QUICK FACTS:

  • The vote is not related to the ad valorem tax residents passed years ago to form a city school system.
  • It’s a county ad valorem tax, but the revenue stays in Gardendale.
  • This is not a new tax, it comes up for renewal every thirty years.
  • Why now: Jefferson County voters renewed this tax in 2017. At the time, Gardendale was establishing a city school system and the city didn’t vote. Since it will remain in the Jefferson County school district, Gardendale must vote.

Bragg Middle School principal Brad Robertson says this funding is a difference-maker.

“This is for things students use with their hands, it’s not going toward painting a teacher’s lounge or anything like that,” Robertson explained. “This goes for things we’ve put in place the last few years, and other things we have coming up.”

Schools are funded by different pots of money. State funding is earmarked for teacher salaries. The revenue generated from this tax helps fill in the financial gaps.

“We want to use it to bridge any gap we have, but we also want to use it to continue moving forward,” added Robertson. “We don’t want to be just as good as we were before COVID, we want to move Alabama and Jefferson County up.”

At Bragg Middle, administrators used the funding to invest in smartboards and Chromebooks. It also pays for after school tutors and transportation for students who need extra help.

“I feel like the people of Gardendale will do the right thing for their kids”, he said. “This should not be a controversial tax that we either agree with or don’t agree with – this is investing in the kids. If we want our children to do well, we need to invest in them.”

The ad valorem tax in the upcoming vote is a combined 13.9 mills.

The ballot language is not straightforward. You can view a sample ballot below:

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