By BirminghamWatch & Sam Prickett
Voters in Birmingham will head to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of three property taxes for schools and three seats on the City Council.
Those taxes cost taxpayers who own houses valued at $100,000 about $98 per year and raise roughly $27 million a year for city schools.
Voters in City Council Districts 1, 6 and 7 also will have a choice of city councilors to represent them on their ballots. That’s almost half of the council seats up for grabs. Councilors representing those districts were appointed after the elected councilors resigned their positions. Under the Mayor-Council Act, appointed councilors may serve only until the next election.
BirminghamWatch’s city voter guide provides profiles of the candidates, an explanation of the school taxes, information about casting a ballot, and links to official ballots and a map of council districts.
All voters in Birmingham will get their vote on whether to renew three property taxes they already are paying that benefit Birmingham City Schools.
Those taxes generate roughly $27 million in yearly revenue for the school system, accounting for roughly 12% of its total budget, based on its $234 million FY 2019 budget. That revenue goes into the BCS general fund, 76% of which is spent on personnel salaries and benefits; the remaining 24% goes toward operational costs, capital outlay and transfers to other funds.
The taxes were last renewed by voters in August 1991 and are slated to expire Sept. 30, 2021. This month’s vote would renew the taxes through 2046.
One of the taxes is for 4.2 mills and the other two are for 2.8 mills each. The total 9.8 mills costs homeowners $98 a year for each $100,000 in appraised value of their houses.
The polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 8. You can verify your polling place on the AlabamaVotes.gov site.
For those who want to cast absentee ballots, Thursday is the deadline to apply for the ballots. Monday is the last day for voters to apply for emergency absentee ballots, if their employers require them to be out of the country on election day.
Absentees must be hand-delivered to the City Clerk’s office by the end of the day Monday or postmarked by Oct. 8 and received by the clerk by noon on election day.