The simple answer: everyone who LIVES in Hoover. People who own homes and people who rent apartments.
Who doesn’t pay property tax? People who do not live in Hoover, which includes all of the teachers and other employees who are allowed to bring their children to Hoover to be educated in Hoover schools without the burden of paying property tax to support their education.
At the January 9 Board of Education (BOE) meeting, during the public participation section, a parent of children in Hoover City Schools stepped forward to express that while she was for saving the buses, she is not in any way for free buses. She believed that those who did not pay property tax in Hoover should not have access to free buses.
She did not agree with “the cuts” she read about (presumably in this article, though the budget group was clear that no cuts were being recommended, only that all spending should be reviewed) and she did not want the schools to be “dumbed down” to provide free buses.
She argued that, because she already pays a lot of money in property taxes (though less than pretty much anywhere else in the country, mentioned here as well), she did not want to pay more in property tax to pay for buses for other people’s children. She was okay with a fee because a fee would go away when her children no longer needed to access the buses.
Her ability to pay a fee is certainly helpful, though we believe fees would create hardship for the families of the nearly 4,000 children in Hoover City Schools eligible for free or reduced lunches. In addition, it is likely that the Department of Justice (DOJ) would ensure that reduced fees would be available for families whose children are eligible for free or reduced lunches, thus leaving it to those with more resources with the burden of a larger payment. We will address fees for buses in more detail in a future post.
So remember: All families who live in Hoover pay property tax, including people living in apartments.
And in fact, apartment owners are assessed property tax at twice the rate of homeowners.
Here is the bullet-point version:
- Homeowners are assessed property tax based on 10% of the value.
- Apartment owners are assessed property tax based on 20% of their value.
- Apartment owners pass along the cost of property to all renters (which means the renters pay property tax indirectly through their landlords).
- All homeowners and apartment renters pay property tax whether they have children in school or not.
The only people attending Hoover schools that do not pay property tax are Hoover City Schools employees’ children who do not live in the city limits of Hoover. Their children attend Hoover schools at an approximate cost to Hoover taxpayers of $4,000 per year per child. State and federal money follows the child to Hoover regardless of where the family lives, but the family pays no local property tax, which is why Hoover has the “extras” everyone appreciates and doesn’t want to lose.
The number of children attending Hoover schools without their families’ paying local property tax has been estimated to be between 250 and 500 children. Hoover school officials have never provided an official count to the public. [A public information request was submitted on January 10 asking for that information.]
Remember: All families who live in homes or rent apartments in Hoover pay local property tax.