Commission approves special election to extend property taxes

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

COLUMBIANA — The Shelby County Commission approved a Shelby County Board of Education request for a special election to extend 30 mills of property taxes for educational purposes during the Nov. 8 regular commission meeting.

The commission voted 8-1 to approve the request for a special election.

Commissioner Jon Parker was the lone vote against the request, and said he personally believes the taxes should be renewed but he must vote according to the wishes of his district.

“They wanted to know why we needed a special election and why it couldn’t happen during the election we just had,” Parker said. “I feel like I have to vote the way people in my district want.”

Parker said he has a child in public school and another child who will start attending public school next year, so this issue hits close to home for him. He plans to speak with residents in his district about the importance of extending the taxes.

“I’ll try to encourage people to vote on it,” he said.

The special election will be held Feb. 8, 2011.

The current 30-mill taxes are due to expire in 2017. The BOE is requesting the election now so the district can plan long-term projects and maintain educational standards.

Superintendent Randy Fuller has said revenue generated from the taxes is used to fund art, music and physical education, as well as additional core subject teachers, instructional support personnel and guidance counselors. Tax revenues are also used to help repay bonds used to finance capital improvement projects.

If voters renew the taxes, the taxes won’t expire until 2041.

With 30 mills in taxes, someone who owns a $100,000 home would pay $300 a year.