Auburn residents vote NO to property tax increase - WRBL

Auburn residents vote NO to property tax increase

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Voters go to the polls at the Frank Brown rec center Voters go to the polls at the Frank Brown rec center
Voters go to the polls at the Dean Road rec center Voters go to the polls at the Dean Road rec center
Ted McGowin campaigns for voters to "Say NO" Ted McGowin campaigns for voters to "Say NO"
Linda campaigns for residents to vote "yes" to the tax Linda campaigns for residents to vote "yes" to the tax
AUBURN, Ala. -

The polls are closed and Auburn citizens have made their voices heard over a proposed property tax increase to build a new high school.

The preliminary results show it was an extremely tight race, but it's a no-go for the tax.

The city's website says it's 46 to 54 percent. 4452 people voted "yes" to the nine-mill property tax increase while 5185 people voted "no," meaning the residents' taxes will not be raised in the near future.

Tim McGowin with the "Say NO" campaign says, "They've got a lot of money and they're going to continue to get more money every year, and I believe that if the city was to give more of the 1% sales tax they passed two years ago, I think they won't have any problem at all funding their new high school."

He spent all day campaigning outside of the Frank Brown rec center, telling residents why they should vote no to the tax. Many people agreed with him.

"They should cut the waste out of government before they raise taxes," says David Driscoll. "They don't look at that. All they do is say, 'Oh! We don't have enough money. Let's raise taxes,' instead of cutting out the way they do things."

Many of the people voting against the tax say the school system has enough money to build a new high school, but the people voting yes say it's about quality of education for the students.

Longtime Auburn resident and educator Stan Wilson says, "We just think education is too important for us not to be willing to pay for it."

Teachers and young people made up a large portion of the "yes" votes, especially Auburn High School students and alumni, who say the school is noticeably overcrowded.

Auburn High senior Ike Lambert says, "People that grow up here, and they've lived here all their life, I feel like they sometimes take for granted how awesome our school systems are, and those are because of the people that live here."

Kari Storey graduated from the high school in 2010 and says, "I wouldn't have had the opportunities and things to do and learn what I've learned without all the programs Auburn offers."

Although the "yes" voters lost, they say at least everyone came out to vote.

"It's important to do your patriotic duty," said one resident, "whether it's a single initiative on a ballot or if it's a presidential race, everybody should vote. If we don't vote, we can't complain."

The Opelika-Auburn News has released a video of school superintendent Dr. Karen Delano's reaction to the results, in which she says she is "very disappointed." Her office will now work on how to address the extreme growth in the schools and make recommendations for cuts.

Delano has previously said the district does not have the funds it needs to build a new high school.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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