Fairhope creates school commission

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FAIRHOPE – The city of Fairhope is taking steps to start plans to oversee revenue from the new three-mill property tax approved by voters for local schools.

The Fairhope City Council voted Nov. 25 to dissolve the city’s Education Advisory Committee and establish the Fairhope Public Schools Commission. The nine-member commission will oversee the distribution of the income from the tax. Councilman Robert Brown said the selection process for the nine commissioners is almost complete.

“This was part of the special tax district requirement, forming that commission,” he said at the Nov. 25 meeting. “I think at our next meeting, the proposed membership for that commission will be put on the agenda.”

The next Fairhope City Council meeting will be Dec. 9.

The resolution approved by voters calls for a commission to be appointed by the council. Commissioners will work with the city and school system to oversee the distribution of the tax proceeds.

School system officials estimated that the tax should bring in about $2 million more a year for the five schools in the Fairhope tax district.

For the last several years, the city of Fairhope has given the schools a total of $350,000 a year. The Education Advisory Committee oversaw the distribution of that money. During the campaign on the referendum, supporters of the tax proposal said the EAC system showed how money could be efficiently and fairly used for Fairhope schools.

The first revenue from the tax should be received by tax district in late 2020.

Spanish Fort voters also approved a three-mill tax for schools in that community. The Spanish Fort City Council is also working to establish a commission for tax revenue in that district.