Bill would send St. Clair County children to overcrowded Paine Elementary
By Gary Lloyd
TRUSSVILLE — A bill that would annex homes in the St. Clair County neighborhood Carrington Estates into the city of Trussville will go before a county and municipal government committee today.
The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, said he wasn’t sure how many homes in the subdivision would be annexed, but he said a petition was signed by about 100 people requesting the annexation. He also said some parts of the neighborhood were annexed in several years ago.
McClendon said residents of the subdivision wanted to be part of Trussville so children would be able to attend Paine Primary School, a much closer school than elementary schools in Springville or Margaret. McClendon said the bill would allow parents to keep their children enrolled in St. Clair County schools or enroll them in Trussville schools.
“Those people will have an option, but eventually all of those children will go into the Trussville school system,” he said.
McClendon said he wasn’t sure of an exact number of students the bill could affect in the Carrington Estates area, but he projected it to be around 25 or 30 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
McClendon said he was unaware of the seven-millage property tax vote set for Feb. 25 in Trussville. He said he didn’t have any “direct conversations” with anyone from Trussville City Schools about the bill. McClendon said he had “no idea” if allowing St. Clair County residents annexed into Trussville would affect overcrowding or enrollment numbers at the Paine campus, which currently has over 300 students housed in portable classrooms.
Trussville City Schools Superintendent Pattie Neill was not immediately available for comment Wednesday morning.
McClendon said the proposed bill was “very welcomed” by Trussville Mayor Gene Melton.
Melton said the Trussville City Council passed a resolution in 2011 to accept the neighborhood if an agreement could be reached between the residents and St. Clair County officials.
“My dilemma is that Trussville could provide 911 emergency services to those people a whole lot faster than they can get them out of St. Clair County,” Melton said. “I don’t want a house to burn down while they’re waiting on a fire truck while we’ve got a fire station outside the Carrington entrance.”
McClendon said he wasn’t sure if all roads are complete in Carrington Estates. He said he didn’t believe they’re county roads, meaning that if the bill passes, the city of Trussville would likely be responsible for them.
Melton said there is a bond in place from the original developer to help pay for completing the roads.
There is no fee or assessment imposed on the St. Clair County residents in Carrington Estates for schools.
Previous annexations from St. Clair County were required to pay a one-time annexation fee to help offset the difference in the property taxes for schools between the two counties. The fee was paid by homeowners or the developer.
School tax in Jefferson County is 30.1 mills, while school tax in St. Clair County is 13.5 mills.
McClendon said having the services of Trussville’s police and fire departments is also “more convenient.”
McClendon said that should the bill pass the committee today, it would go before the House in the next few weeks. If it passes then, it would go to the State Senate for approval. The annexation does not require Trussville City Council approval.
Trussville City Council President Buddy Choat did not know about the proposed bill.
“This is the first I’ve heard,” Choat said. “I didn’t know anything about this. We (the council) haven’t had any recent discussions about annexing that area. This hasn’t come before the council in two years when a couple of Carrington Estates residents asked about annexation.”
Scott Buttram contributed to this story.