Local Politics

Gardendale Spends Millions of Tax Dollars on Local Schools

The City of Gardendale has steadily increased the amount of spending to its local public schools through the Ad Valorem Tax account housing the collections from what is loosely called the 5-Mill Property Tax.

The tax was voted on a decade ago by Gardendale voters as a tax needed to fund a Gardendale City School System while attempting to break away from the Jefferson County School District.

That attempt failed. The tax lives on.

It should be noted that the 5-Mill Property Tax is completely separate from what Gardendale voters passed, within the last few months, to give the District what some call the Jefferson County School Tax. That tax generates approximately 2 million and goes to the District.

The 5-Mill Property Tax is now generating almost 1.1 million per year and the spending in that account rests with the 5 members of the Gardendale City Council and can only be allocated for “public school purposes.”

The Herald requested public records for the 5-Mill Property Tax account from the City of Gardendale. The below data was supplied by the City and shows a full accounting from 2014 through May 31, 2023.

The $75k “Kids First Campaign Fox6” line item represents City TV commercials and social ads, posts and video through a media organization and approved by the City Council to be paid for from the account.

Also note that the amount that currently sits in the account ($2,596,038.92) does not yet reflect a $884k approved spend from the account for the City’s shared expense with the Jefferson County School District to turf the Gardendale High School baseball and softball fields.

According to the City, the invoice for the project has yet to be received by the City.

*FYE = Fiscal Year End.


9/30/2014 72,251.65
9/30/2015 797,749.91
9/30/2016 812,274.83
9/30/2017 800,961.13
BOE Operations (res 2016-139 FY17 Budget) (500,000.00)
BOE Operations (Feb 2017 Check 102) (348,800.00)
BOE Operations (Res 2017-069) (1,266,125.00)
Revenues 814,196.89
BOE Operations (Res 2018-032) (208,000.00)
BOE Operations (Res 2018-132 Check 105) (51,000.00)
BOE Operations (Check 105) (46,649.00)
Legal Fees FY2018 (85,013.00)
Revenues 817,343.75
BOE legal (10/9/2018 Ck 17617) (25,000.00)
Legal Fees FY2019 (Pd Ck 109) (13,807.00)
Revenues 913,607.59
Appropriation Schools (Budgeted Pd Ck 107) (10,400.00)
Crossing Guards Salary (94,703.54)
Legal Fees FY2020 (45,708.00)
Revenues 955,512.30
paid to Local School Classrooms (257,250.00)
Legal Fees (35,821.00)
Crossing Guards (94,511.64)
Revenues 985,006.55
paid to Local School Classrooms (1,123,729.52)
Legal Fees (630,000.00)
Crossing Guards (128,374.38)
Kid’s First Campaign Fox6 (75,000.00)
Revenues 1,080,296.64
paid to Local School Classrooms (355,848.23)
Crossing Guards (57,422.01)