By Gary Lloyd
TRUSSVILLE — Trussville residents on Tuesday voted to approve the seven-millage property tax increase to fund two new community elementary schools.
The vote passed by an unofficial result of 2,812 voting for the increase to 1,935 voting against it. That equates to 59 percent in favor of the increase, while 41 percent voted against it.
Seven additional mills in property taxes will cost Trussville residents $70 per year on homes appraised at $100,000, $140 per year on homes appraised at $200,000 and $210 per year on homes appraised at $300,000.
The plan is to renovate the city’s original high school in the Cahaba Project and to build a new school near the Magnolia Place subdivision. Both schools would be equipped with Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved community tornado shelters.
“This is a pivotal moment for the students in Trussville City Schools,” said Trussville City Schools Superintendent Pattie Neill. “The voice of the people has been heard. We will act accordingly to move forward with our community school plan. This can only make things better. Anything that helps the schools helps the community, and it’s obvious that the community really wanted this. And we agree.”
Mayor Gene Melton said he had been hearing for the past few months a “positive indication” that the increase would be approved.
“We need (the schools),” he said. “We sure do. I think it’s great.”
Trussville City Board of Education President Bill Roberts said the vote “means so much for our children.”
“We have a great city and we will be a better city now,” Roberts said. “The winners I think are our children, mommas and daddies and grandparents, as well as our city.”
Neill said a Trussville City Board of Education work session scheduled for April 21 will be “very important.” The board will begin to discuss zoning lines and the possibility of intra-district transfer. Zoning lines will help determine if schools should be built for 400 or 500 students.
At noon on Tuesday, March 4, the Trussville City Council will hold a canvass meeting at Trussville City Hall to ratify the final vote totals.
Neill said the benefits of two new elementary schools are eliminating all portable classrooms at the Paine Elementary Campus, improving school safety with tornado shelters, improving the quality of education with smaller class sizes and increasing property values. More than 300 students at the Paine campus currently have classes in 13 portables.
“A positive vote for the schools is a positive vote for the students, and Trussville really cares about its students,” she said.
Erik Harris and Scott Buttram contributed to this story.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.