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Orr says he won’t break delegation rule on Hartselle tax bill

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com · 340-2469

HARTSELLE — If City Council President Kenny Thompson can’t persuade four councilmen to join him, Hartselle’s school tax bill won’t make it through the current legislative session, which ends June 15.

Sen. Arthur Orr joined Rep. Ronald Grantland in saying he will abide by the delegation’s longstanding rule of unanimous consent for local legislation.

“I’m not going to do anything contrary to the delegation rule,” Orr, R-Decatur, said.

Grantland, D-Hartselle, was preparing to sponsor the legislation in the House. Orr would have to sponsor the bill in the Senate.

State law does not require a unanimous council vote to get the local bill passed. But the local delegation has required this, even when a council majority in the previous administration wanted to let electors decide whether they wanted an elected or appointed school board.

“I will not do anything that the delegation does not agree with,” Orr said.

Councilman Bill Drake, who usually supports the council majority, abstained from voting on a second resolution asking for the tax legislation.

He said the majority of Hartselle residents can’t afford a property-tax increase and are against the 12.5-mill tax to pay for a new high school.

Drake wanted to table the issue until city leaders could discuss it further. But Thompson refused to allow the council to vote on the tabling request.

The council will consider the resolution again on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

Hartselle residents, who currently pay lower taxes than homeowners in Decatur, Falkville and Trinity, have historically rejected tax increases.

By overwhelming numbers, electors rejected tax hikes for schools in 1990 and 2004.

If the proposed tax gets on the ballot and passes, Hartselle will have the highest property taxes, 51.9 mills, in Morgan County.

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