CCBOE to county commission: Put 1-cent sales tax on March ballot

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The Cullman County Board of Education Thursday night unanimously voted to pass a resolution requesting the Cullman County Commission set an election in March 2020 to let voters decide on a 1-cent sales and use tax. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

Updated 10-10-19 8 p.m.

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE) on Thursday night passed a resolution to request that the Cullman County Commission set an election in March 2020 to permit the voters of Cullman County to decide on a countywide sales and use tax of 1 cent.

This comes almost six months after the commission in April 2019 rescinded the half-cent sales tax it passed on March 12, 2019.

CCBOE Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette provided The Tribune with a list of projects he’d like to see happen if voters approve the tax:

  • Build a modern career tech center that will include a high school
  • New elementary classrooms on various campuses
  • Expand and modernize lunchrooms system-wide
  • Upgrade security- fencing, more school resource deputies, creation of entry barriers
  • Combination gym/auditorium for two schools
  • Update all science labs system-wide
  • Upgrade the agri-science and consumer science facilities on all campuses

Said Barnette, “We will hold several meetings every month from now until March to talk about what will happen on each campus. Every campus will have improvements and new buildings if this tax passes.”

The resolution passed reads:

The Cullman County Commission on Education is charged with providing the best possible public education to the students who live in Cullman County, and the board is wholly committed to meeting that charge.

Whereas, appropriate funding, especially local funding, is critical to providing the educational resources needed and expected by the students, families and other residents of Cullman County, both in its cities and in unincorporated areas,

Whereas, sales and use tax for education are an important component of the appropriate local revenue mix for the school system. Alabama Code 40-12-4 of 1975 authorizes the county commission to levy franchise, excise and privilege license taxes which are of the nature of sales and use taxes for public school purposes. The education sales taxes are countywide taxes, meaning they are to be collected throughout the whole of the county and distributed countywide to local boards of education in Cullman County on the same basis of the total calculated costs for the foundation program for those local boards of education within the county. Education sales taxes have to be used exclusively for public school purposes and the board would pledge to use these funds for facilities and public school safety, both of which are great needs within this county. The board does not have taxing authority and cannot independently levy, collect or increase taxes, but must instead rely on the county commission to assist with adopting the education sale taxes.

Whereas, this code also permits the county commission to, in its discretion, submit the question of levying any such tax to a vote of the qualified electors of the county to decide whether such a tax should be put in place.

Now, therefore, be it resolved the Cullman County Commission on Education at this board meeting, duly assembled, with a quorum being present, as follows:

That the Cullman County Commission is requested to take any and all appropriate steps or other pertinent authority to set an election in March 2020 to permit voters of Cullman County to decide whether a countywide sales and use tax of 1 cent to be collected throughout the county and distributed to local boards of education in Cullman County and used exclusively for public education purposes should be levied and then to levy such tax to the voters to approve.

That the superintendent, as the secretary of the board has hereby requested to forward a certified copy of this resolution to the county commission of Cullman County in order to respectfully request them to take action requested hereby

That this resolution shall become effective immediately upon its adoption by the Cullman County Commission on Education.

“We have just finished up a series throughout Cullman County of community meetings, and overwhelmingly, I feel like the people of Cullman County would like to have new schools, would like to have facilities upgraded, and we’d like to update our security,” said Barnette.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the CCBOE and will now go to the Cullman County Commission.

See the full meeting here.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com