Property

Chelsea City Council approves special election on raising property taxes for potential new school system

CHELSEA, Ala. (WBRC) – The city of Chelsea is a big step closer to having its own school system. The city council voted to give voters the chance to decide whether to raise their own property taxes to pay for it.

Right now, Chelsea schools are a part of Shelby County Schools. Chelsea homeowners only pay county property taxes, but none for the city.

With the May 3 vote, the city will host a special election July 12 to let voters decide if they want to raise municipal property taxes from zero to 12.5 mills to create the city’s own school system. The goal is to improve school facilities.

Council Member Cody Sumners is one of two members who voted no to the proposal on May 3. He told WBRC that he thinks there are ways to improve the schools without raising taxes, like using city bonds. He said it is going to be hard on many Chelsea families to pay for another expense.

“Nobody wants to be taxed right now with the economy the way it is,” Sumners said. “You’re gonna have some people who aren’t going to have a problem with it and then other families that are living paycheck to paycheck on a fixed income. We have to think about what is best for everybody. Whatever the people vote, if they want a system, then we will move forward.”

Concerned residents at the council meeting said they did not think an increase to property taxes would improve the schools.

“All the bells and whistles will not make us more competitive in the future if we are not supporting our administration, staff, students, and teachers with the real issues they are facing today,” Chelsea resident Sandi Blakely said. “I’m very concerned and upset over the school proposal and how it continues to be handled by the city council.”

Sumners said the 12.5 mill property tax would equate to about $125 on every $100,000 of your home’s value. He said if the increase passes after the vote on the 12th, they will start to form their own school system right away.

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