Daphne passes school tax

By Guy Busby, Government Editor, guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 9/7/22

DAPHNE – Daphne voters approved a three-mill property tax increase Tuesday, Aug. 30 that will raise more than $1 million a year for local schools.

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Daphne passes school tax

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DAPHNE – Daphne voters approved a three-mill property tax increase Tuesday, Aug. 30 that will raise more than $1 million a year for local schools.

The vote on the referendum was 1,746 in favor of the proposal and 1,414 against, according to unofficial results.

“We’re excited,” Mayor Robin LeJeune said. “We’re happy for the kids and the teachers and principals in Daphne. We’re just excited for the decision that will move us forward into the future. We’ve got a lot to do, but this is a big step and a big hurdle to overcome.”

LeJeune praised the work done by the Daphne Education Advisory Committee in bringing the proposal to the City Council and leading the effort to put the plan on the ballot.

“This is their vision and they were the ones who worked to get it over the finish line,” he said.

He said the next step will be for the city to set up a commission to oversee how funds from the tax will be distributed to local schools.

The three-mill tax will raise at least $1.1 million a year, according to estimates by the Baldwin County School System based on 2016 property values.

LeJeune said the district should start receiving some funds from the tax by the beginning of 2023.

Baldwin County Superintendent of Education Eddie Tyler also praised the vote by Daphne residents.

"I could not be happier for the parents and families in Daphne. As a former coach at Daphne High School I am so excited for this community," Tyler said.

"The template for these local taxes is clearly a success amongst voters. This program gives control of these taxes to the local community. We don’t decide how this money is spent. Local parents and voters decide how this money is spent. In fact, the school system doesn’t run these campaigns. These are the result of a community who wants to do better for their children," he added.

Under Alabama law, residents can request that a special tax district be established in a community. If approved in a referendum, a property tax of up to three mills can be passed for up to 30 years.

Voters in Fairhope and Spanish Fort approved three-mill taxes in 2019. Robertsdale area voters approved a similar tax in 2021.

"What we are seeing out of Fairhope, Spanish Fort and Robertsdale is remarkable. The improvements by these districts are not attributable to any one tax increase but rather these votes are symbolic of the community’s support for their local schools and a commitment to education," Tyler said.

The districts are based on the feeder patterns for the high schools in those areas.

With each mill of ad valorem tax, a property owner pays $1 for each $10,000 in appraised value of his or her property. The owner of a $300,000 home would pay another $90 a year, or $7.50 a month.

Money raised by the tax would be spent in the Daphne district. A district education committee would make recommendations on how the money would be spent to the Baldwin County Board of Education.

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