Residents of Tuscaloosa County will vote in a referendum on Valentine’s Day 2023 to determine whether or not to increase property taxes for the county school system.

According to reports, the proposed increase would generate an additional $15 million annually for the Tuscaloosa County Schools District (TCSD). 

Homeowners in Tuscaloosa County already pay $10 a year for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation. The proposed tax increase would raise that number to $18.

In that instance, an owner of a $100,000 home would pay nearly $75 more per year in property taxes, whereas an owner of a $200,000 home would pay almost $150 more per year.

If the tax increase is passed, it will allow the TCSD to begin collecting revenue by the start of its 2024 fiscal year, which begins in October 2023.

The county approved the referendum earlier this month and scheduled the vote for Feb. 14, 2023. 

According to Patch, it’s been more than 100 years since Tuscaloosa County last voted to raise property taxes. The most recent attempt to raise the property taxes took place in 1996 and failed after the county voted by a two-to-one margin against the increase.

The new proposed tax hike follows a failed effort by Northport to break from the TCSD and form a school district of its own, much like the Tuscaloosa City School System.

TCSD superintendent Keri Johnson told Patch that residential developments have resulted in several schools outgrowing their facilities. Johnson said the revenue would be used to construct a new elementary school to address the issues. She also suggested building a new middle school and improving high school athletic facilities.

The TCSD will host several public meetings over the next two-and-a-half months to discuss how the money from the property tax increase would be spent if voters approve the measure.

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