Tax vote planned Sept. 17


FOLEY – Plans for a Sept. 17 tax vote in Fairhope and Spanish Fort moved forward with action by the Baldwin County will go to the polls Sept. 17 to decide if they want a three-mill property tax to raise money for schools in their community.

On June 11, the Baldwin County Commission a proposal to set the election date on the consent agendafor the regular meeting on June 18. The plan calls for placing the referendums for the two tax districts on a special election ballot to be held in the attendance zones for schools in Spanish Fort and Fairhope. Voters in the two districts will decide if they wish to increase property taxes by three mills with the money raised going to support schools in those communities.

Commissioners also approved placing a motion to set the duties for absentee elections manager for the referendums on the June 18 agenda.

Details on the election are still being worked out, but county officials have proposed holding the votes in the precincts usually used by Fairhope and Spanish Fort. Violetta Smith, county elections manager, said voters in the Fairhope districts will cast ballots in the five precincts where they usually vote. The Spanish Fort election would be held in the three precincts used in that community.

Only voters in the two districts will vote and each referendum will apply only to that district.

A three-mill tax would increase ad valorem rates on property with an appraised value of $100,000 by $30 a year. Under an amendment to the Alabama Constitution, communities can establish local tax districts to pass taxes to support schools in that area.

Spanish Fort has proposed a three-mill increase for 10 years. The Fairhope proposal would set a three-mill increase for 30 years.

The Fairhope City Council petitioned the Baldwin County Board of Education to hold a tax referendum in Tax District 9. That district is the attendance zone for Fairhope High School and the middle and elementary schools in that feeder pattern. The board approved that petition on April 25.

If the Fairhope tax is approved by voters, the measure would raise about $1.9 million to $2 million a year for schools in that community.

The Spanish Fort City Council’s petition was approved by the school board at a special meeting on June 6. The Spanish Fort tax would raise about $800,000 a year, according to school system estimates. Spanish Fort is Tax District 7.

If approved, the taxes in the two communities would go into effect with the tax year that begins Oct. 1, 2019. Those taxes would be due on Oct. 1, 2020.

The Fairhope tax would expire with the levy for the tax year in 2048.

The Spanish Fort tax would expire with the 2028 levy.