Loxley council approves support for school tax vote


LOXLEY, Alabama — The Loxley Town Council joined Robertsdale and Silverhill councils voting to approve a resolution at its meeting Monday, May 10 allowing for a referendum vote on a special 3-mil ad velorem tax that will be earmarked for the Central Baldwin Feeder Pattern.

Principals from four local schools, Loxley Elementary’s Misty Wilkinson, Rosinton School’s Andy Benton, Central Baldwin Middle School’s Phillip Fountain and Robertsdale High School’s Joe Sharp, were in attendance at the meeting, along local educators and members of the Central Baldwin Education Foundation.

“We’re asking for your support of a referendum which will allow people to vote on whether or not they want a tax dedicated to supporting Central Baldwin schools,” said Chris Kerby, a Loxley business owner representing the CBEF.

The tax is similar to those that were passed in 2019 by the cities of Fairhope and Spanish Fort. If passed it would generate 3 mills and run for the next eight years, which would coincide with the renewal schedule for the Spanish Fort tax. The Fairhope tax was approved for 30 years.

“With Loxley’s potential growth and the possibility that Loxley is in line for a high school in the next few years, we see this as a positive thing for Loxley,” Sharp said.

Loxley Mayor Richard Teal said Stonebridge Elementary School, which is under construction within the town’s limits, would currently fall under Spanish Fort’s feeder pattern, but could switch to Loxley if a new high school is built there.

“We want to keep that support here in our town,” Teal said.

According to information provided by the group, a 1 mil property tax is equal to .01 % (.0001) of appraised property value, or 6 % of the assessed value of farmland. Senior citizens would be exempt from the tax.

The tax is projected to generate from $700,000 to $750,000 per year to be spend toward making academic and capital improvements, personnel and extra-curriculars at Silverhill Elementary, Loxley Elementary, Elsanor Elementary, Rosinton Elementary, Robertsdale Elementary, Central Baldwin Middle and Robertsdale High schools.

Improvements would include providing additional education opportunities, programs and facilities for students in Central Baldwin, Kerby said.

“This is about providing facilities for our children that other areas already have,” Kerby said. “We choose to raise our children here, but one day they are going to grow up, go off to college and hopefully want to return to this area. If we don’t provide those opportunities now, our children may want to go somewhere that does.”

Loxley voted unanimously May 10 to approve the resolution. Both the Robertsdale City Council and Silverhill Town Council passed similar resolutions during May 3 meetings.

The group will now need to gather 200 signatures on a petition, which will then be presented to the Baldwin County Commission for approval. If passed, the Commission will then set a date for a special referendum vote and a special election will be held for voters in Robertsdale, Loxley and Silverhill, along with other residents who belong to the Robertsdale High School feeder pattern.

If voters approve the tax, a Central Baldwin Education Committee would be formed, with three members appointed by each municipality to decide how the money is spent.

In other business May 10 the council approved an intergovernmental service agreement with the Baldwin County Commission for the town to manage the construction of a Loxley Transit Shelter.

In July 2020, the town received a matching grant from the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization in the amount of $782,635 in federal funds for the construction of a transit shelter in the town.

The town will contribute 20 percent, or $195,658 for the construction of the shelter.

The town will manage the project and coordinate directly with the Alabama Department of Transportation throughout the duration of the project.

Once the project is completed, the Baldwin Regional Area Transit System (BRATS), which falls under the Baldwin County Commission, will be the designated public transit provider for the MPO.

In other business May 10, the council:

  • Adopted a proposed ordinance to establish a Museum Committee for the town, appointing members Joan Richardson, Joey Knight Patty Hudson, Barbara Lovell and Kasey Childress to serve on the committee.
  • Adopted an ordinance exempting certain covered items from the municipal sales and use tax during the third full weekend in July (16-18) to coincide with the state of Alabama’s Back to School sales tax holiday.
  • Approved an invoice submitted for work completed on USDA Wastewater Treatment Facility improvements and effluent outfall upgrades project to be reimbursed by grant funds.
  • Approved revised invoices from a CDBG sewer rehabilitation project, which had been previously approved during a special meeting held April 26.
  • Voted to rename a portion of Park Drive as Richardson Drive in honor of Joan Richardson for her work on the town’s Bicentennial Committee.
  • Appointed Chris Kerby Sr. to the town’s Construction Board of Appeals.
  • Approved town membership in Air MedCare’s census plan at a cost of $65 per member per year.
  • Approved the hiring of a part-time employee for the Civic Center.
  • Purchased a piercing tool from Vermeer Southeast of Pensacola, Florida, for the town’s Utilities Department at a cost of $4,675. The equipment will be paid for in three installments of $1,558.33.
  • Purchased a Kaeser Omega 21P Blower from Air Power Services of Pensacola for the town’s Utilities Department.
  • Rescheduled the council’s work session to May 24 because of the Memorial Day holiday on May 31.
  • Purchased an advertisement in Gulf Coast Media’s Big Beautiful Baldwin magazine.