WINSTON COUNTY - A resolution passed by the Winston County Commission Monday morning, Aug. 9, means renewing five mills of property tax benefiting both Haleyville City and Winston County schools will now go before county voters to decide in a special election Tuesday, Nov. 9.
The commission meeting was attended by a host of individuals interested in having the issue placed on a special election ballot. These persons included attorney Jeff Mobley, representing both Haleyville and Winston County schools systems, as well as Kane Burnette, special legal representative for both boards of education, Winston County Schools Superintendent Greg Pendley and Haleyville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Holly Sutherland. They joined Commission Chairman Roger Hayes, Commissioners David Cummings and Bobby Everett and Commission Attorney Hobby Manasco.
The last election held to authorize this tax levy was on Sept. 25, 1990, officials said.
“This is the renewal of a tax that has already been here for many, many years,” Mobley told commissioners and others in attendance. “We would simply ask the commission on behalf of Winston County Schools and Haleyville City Schools pass a resolution allowing the citizens to have an election to determine if they want to continue this tax.
“This is vital funding for the schools. It would be very difficult to continue the schools in the current state they are in without the money,” Mobley stressed.
“We have had this explained to us before, and I am satisfied with the explanation you have,” Hayes responded.
Amendment 153 of the Constitution of Alabama authorizes the levy of a special county tax used for educational purposes, subject to the approval of the electorate or a countywide election.
The rate is 50 cents on each $100 of assessed value of taxable property in Winston County, officials stated, adding the tax helps both the Winston County and Haleyville City school districts.
Each district levies a total of 12 mills of property tax for schools, with nine of the total 12 mills being a countywide tax split between Winston County and Haleyville City schools based on each school system’s enrollment, officials added. The remaining three mills is a district tax collected on property.
Over half (56 percent) of county property tax will expire after this year unless the majority of voters elect to continue the tax, education officials have stressed. Specifically, the tax that will expire is a five mill countywide tax.
“It is vital for us to continue as we are,” Pendley said at the meeting. “What I have iterated to anyone who has asked is it’s not an additional tax. It’s just a continuance of the present taxes, which is beneficial to both of us (school systems),” Pendley added.
“I agree with Mr. Pendley,” Sutherland added. “Sometimes when taxes are spoken of people panic, but it is just a continuation of what we already are doing.
“We have been very clear about the fact that right now due to COVID, there are some funds and things like that available that have not been available in the past,” Sutherland continued.
“When we are talking about funding schools for the next 30 years, that’s a long time for us to go without the five percent that we’re accustomed to,” Sutherland said. “We want to continue the level of education that our kids have in Winston County.”
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.