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Cullman County Schools asking for 'yes’ vote on sales tax increase

Cullman voting on sales tax
Cullman voting on sales tax
Updated: Feb. 3, 2020 at 11:02 PM CST
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CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Cullman County school leaders are asking the community to support a one-cent sales tax increase that could generate about $10 million annually.

According to Cullman County School System’s superintendent, about 77 percent would go to county schools and 23 percent would go to city schools. The percentage allocations are based on enrollment numbers.

Superintendent Shane Barnette says he wants to use the county’s chunk to fund three main things. He hopes to upgrade school security across the system by adding more School Resource Officers and security equipment. The system would also look at building a new state-of-the-art career technical facility near Wallace State. The system also hopes to complete upgrades at all 29 campus sites.

The county raised the sales tax back in 2012 by half a cent, but the superintendent says it wasn’t enough to do everything they need to do.

“We’ve been ‘bandaiding’ our school system for a long time. That allowed us to put some roofs on there and we’re still finishing up those projects. We’re to the point now - while the economy is good - some of the projects we need to do that cost 1 - 2 million dollars now may cost 6 or 7 million dollars down the road,” said Dr. Shane Barnette, Superintendent.

In terms of how much it’d add to your budget, the school system estimates if you spend about $1,200 a month on taxable items, expect to pay an extra $12 a month or $144 a year if the sales tax is approved.

Dr. Barnette held a community meeting Monday night at Vinemont High School to discuss what this vote means. Some members of the community brought up concerns about the tax and asked about selling the Section 16 Land on the Lake. According to Dr. Barnette, if the land sold for $4 million dollars today, the school system would only see a little over $300,000 to use immediately because 90% would have to go into a trust account and a portion would still have to go to the Cullman City School system.

He plans to create a 10 year strategic plan to map out how money should be allocated on projects over time.

The vote is set for March 3. The Cullman County System is holding superintendent information talks about the upcoming vote through February:

Wednesday, February 5th at the Central Office Board Room at 4:00 pm

Thursday, February 6th at the Cold Springs Gym at 4:30 pm

Monday, February 10th at the Good Hope Cafeteria at 6:00 pm

Monday, February 17th at the West Point Auditorium at 6:00 pm

Tuesday, February 18th at the Hanceville High School Gym at 6:00 pm

Wednesday, February 19th at the Central Office Board Room at 8:00 am

Thursday, February 20th at the Fairview High School Auditorium at 6:00 pm

Monday, February 24th at the Holly Pond Cafeteria 6:00 pm

For more information on the schools plans for the potential sales tax money and how it could impact the school in your area, visit www.keepcullmangreat.com.

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