Sumter County voters are going to the polls today to consider raising their property taxes by eight mills.
A yes vote on the amendment to the Alabama Constitution would authorize Sumter County to levy annually, for a period of 30 consecutive years, beginning this year, a special school district tax of thirty cents on each one hundred dollars (equal to three mills on each dollar) of the assessed value of the taxable property located within Sumter County.
Both the traditional public school system in Sumter County and the new University Charter School will receive a proportionate share of the tax based on the number of Sumter County residents enrolled as students in their respective schools at the time the tax is collected.
If students leave the traditional school system and go to the charter school run by the University of West Alabama, the tax money will follow the children to the University Charter School. If students and their families leave the charter school for the traditional public school system, the money follows the child to the Sumter County Board of Education.
There is a three mill tax increase and a five mill tax increase both in the same amendment. Both of them expire thirty years from now.
The tax increase will fall disproportionately on farmers and landowners because there are relatively few homes and businesses in Sumter County. The population of the county is only 12,961, which is down from its modern era peak of 17,131 in 1984.
The state appropriates state dollars to schools on a per-pupil basis so when people leave the county, the money that goes toward education follows them to their new school. This has left Sumter and other rural systems with perennially declining revenues.
Alabama has the longest constitution in the world.
You must have a valid photo-ID with you in order to be guaranteed a vote in any Alabama election.