Elected officials in Tuscaloosa got voters one step closer to deciding whether to increase their property taxes to support city schools Tuesday night.

The Thread has covered the issue since the tax hike was first proposed in early October in response to a survey of more than 2,000 stakeholders involved in Tuscaloosa City Schools to identify the system's funding priorities.

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In short, TCS says it needs significant new funding - more than $17 million in Fiscal Year 2025 - to both maintain and improve the priorities identified by the survey, which include School Safety, Educator Excellence and Student Services & Programs.

The only way for TCS to independently increase its funding is to ask the citizens of Tuscaloosa to increase their ad valorem property tax, which is paid on both real estate and motor vehicles.

Today, the property tax rate in Tuscaloosa city limits is 51.5 mills, so property valued at $100,000 creates a $515 ad valorem tax obligation annually, a $200,000 property is taxed at $1,100 annually and so on.

The proposed tax increase would raise the rate by 11.5 mills to 63 mills total - a 22 percent increase.

If adopted, the ad valorem tax owed on that $100,000 property would climb to $630 annually.

The city voted Tuesday not to support or adopt the tax increase, but simply to send the matter to the Alabama Legislature, who will decide early next year whether to place the issue on ballots for a vote of the people - likely in a special election in 2024.

If that happens, and if citizens adopt the tax increase, it is not expected to go into effect until 2025.

Like a similar vote last week, the resolution passed with six council members in favor and Councilman Lee Busby voting against the measure.

For more on the property tax discussion as it continues, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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