Ozark Schools

This week the Ozark City Council voted unanimously to ask the state legislature to set up a special referendum on an eight-mil increase in property taxes.

Ozark school officials are optimistic the measure will pass, even though tax proposals in Houston County were voted down 4-1.

Ozark School Superintendent Dan Payant said the system's 50-year-old buildings need about $15 million in repairs and renovation work.

More than $14,000 was spent last year just to keep Carrol High School's old boiler running and some heating and cooling units are so out-dated, parts to fix them are no longer available. Add to that exposed wiring, worn-out plumbing and general wear and tear.

Payant said Ozark already gets about $947 per student based on local revenue, but surrounding school systems get even more.

Mayor Bob Bunting said no one likes a tax hike, but something has to be done to keep students from pulling out and going elsewhere.

Ozark officials hope to schedule the tax vote in May.

Payant pointed out that all advalorem taxes are not created equal, because property values differ.

He said one mil of property tax in Houston County generates $400,000 in revenue, but a single mil in Dale County generates less than $75,000.