Public Forum for Ad Valorem Tax

By: Demetria McClenton Email
By: Demetria McClenton Email

Dothan City Commissioners held a public forum at the Dothan Opera House Tuesday evening, seeking feedback on whether citizens should vote on an ad valorem tax increase.

The hot button issue is a proposal from the school advocacy group "Yes We Can! Dothan.”

At issue, whether to raise property taxes for funding public schools and the Houston-Love Memorial Library.

“We can do one thing, we can pay to educate our kids or we can pay for the increase of people who go to jail because they're not educated,” said a Dothan resident.

Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz addressed the community's concern on the proposed ad valorem tax increase.

"We've had several calls that they don't want the commission to vote on the property tax but that's not what we're doing. Our only choice at hand is to move it to the state level," said Mayor Schmitz.

If approved by commissioners state legislators would allow citizens the opportunity to vote on the tax increase.

With 13-mills going towards the public school system and 2-mills towards the library, not everyone thinks it's a good idea.

"If they showed me they can do an adequate job of teaching a kid or any kid, then I'll be for this," said Dothan Resident Ted Gamble.

Chamber of Commerce President Matt Parker said, “If we could fund education differently in this state and provide stability we would do it."

Former educator, Kay Jackson adds, "There's always been a shortfall in supplies, and curriculum and anything that you can imagine. I've seen a tremendous amount of waste."

The Houston County Revenue Commissioner's Office crunched numbers and here's what they found.

If the resolution is approved, the average homeowner's taxes would increase by $233 for a $155,000 home.

Business owners would see a $900 increase.

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