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A one-cent sales tax in Houston County, which has been in effect since 1989, will soon expire.

If this happens, a proposed long-range plan for local schools could be postponed even more, causing long-term problems.

For years, a booming population in Houston County has led to growing concern for it's schools.

There is no classroom space left in Rehobeth schools and students in Wicksburg are learning in trailers.

Superintendent Tim Pitchford of Houston County Schools says, "If we don't address this now, in the next 5 to 10 years, Houston County schools will become trailer parks."

So the county commission voted Monday to ask the legislature to amend the local bill, extending the sales tax termination date.

If approved, the sales tax will continue to be in effect for at least another 20-years, which would give Houston County schools the borrowing power for their proposed long-term plans.

The money that could be borrowed would go toward adding classrooms and upgrading existing space. It would also go toward safety, like adding security cameras in the schools.

"We don't want to go into debt,” Pitchford says. “We don't want to have to borrow $18 to $20 million dollars but this is a need for facilities. This is not salaries, administrative salaries or teacher salaries."

Pitchford also says updating the schools is something that should have been done years ago, but because of legislation, no one has been able to make that move until now.

If the bill is not approved by the legislature during this session, the county will have to wait another year to make another extension request.

Revenue from this sales tax bill is split 70/30.

Dothan city schools and Houston County schools divide their 70-percent share according to student population.

The remaining 30-percent goes to the Houston County Road and Bridge Department.


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