Back on the ballot?

Published 12:07 pm Wednesday, March 28, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
City school board members will ask the Escambia County Commission to put a tax renewal back on the ballot, less than a year after the measure failed a county-wide vote.
The Brewton City School Board voted Monday to endorse a resolution to put a 1-cent county-wide tax on the June 5 ballot. Alabama voters will go to the polls that day to decide whether to support an economic development measure that would expand the state's ability to borrow money for industrial projects.
Voters rejected the tax renewal in August, when a special election was held to try to renew two different existing taxes for schools: a 3-mill district tax and a 1-mill countywide tax. City voters approved the 3-mill tax designated for city schools, but county voters did not approve the 3-mill tax designated for county schools. The 1-mill tax - which benefited both school districts - also failed.
County school officials have said they stand to lose $600,000 annually if the taxes are not renewed. City schools could lose about $70,000 annually.
School officials have said they would not seek another special election for the tax renewal. A special election would cost the county about $50,000.
County school board members have not formally asked the county commission to put the measure on the ballot, but Superintendent Billy Hines said last month he hopes to revisit the issue. Hines could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
School officials had considered putting the measure back on the ballot in next February's presidential primary, but the June 5 vote is the first opportunity they would have for an election.

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