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$13.2 million for Decatur
City schools get lion’s share of this year’s Morgan County tax revenue

By Sheryl Marsh · 340-2437

A decade of business, industrial and residential growth has made a $50 million difference in tax revenue for Morgan County.

Decatur City schools will get $13,161,066, the largest share from this year’s tax collections.

Morgan County schools come in second with $10,926,625 and Hartselle’s share is $2,463,513, according to Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott.

The Decatur City Board of Education gets the largest amount because it has the highest millage rate, 16.2, while the county’s is 11.3.

The city board will get $806,000 more this year, and Superintendent Sam Houston was glad to hear that.

“We can certainly put it to good use,” said Houston.

“We just passed our budget, and we also passed our capital plan involving the needs in our school system. Even with the state bond issue money, we would still have $37 million in unfunded capital needs.”

In 1997 when Scott entered office, the tax collection was $24,370,064. Decatur schools got $6,875,910, county schools received $4,703,280 and Hartselle got $1,309,178.

Consistent growth

The tax collection has doubled since then, showing consistent growth.

“This growth in property tax revenue can mainly be attributed to new industry locating in Morgan County, expansion of existing industry and residential growth,” Scott said.

Boeing and Toray brought major growth when locating here during the past 10 years.

Expansions of Nucor, 3M, Hexcel, Toray, Daikin and Wayne Farms attributed to growth, also.

“We are fortunate to have top-rate companies that provided a strong, stable tax base for our local schools and governments,” said Scott.

Most of the residential growth during that period was in Southwest Decatur, Hartselle and Priceville.

Other areas are growing as well.

“We’ve seen a spurt of growth in Trinity in the last couple of years,” Scott said.

Scott predicts more tax growth in the future because time is expiring on abatements that industries received.

“I expect the trend of property tax revenue to continue to increase over the next several years,” she said. “Morgan County is about to experience the first wave of expirations associated with 10-year property tax abatements per the 1992 abatement law.”

Something new

To keep up with changes during the past decade, Scott says she strives to make improvements each year.

This year, the tax bills and age exemption forms have a new look.

Both are full forms, not cards. The bill gives more information and has a return tear-off portion to submit with payment. It also includes a return envelope.

The age exemption form is more reader-friendly, with a larger font.

Scott’s office mailed the bills Friday. Taxpaying starts Oct. 1 and lasts through December.

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