Daphne school tax vote planned Aug. 30

By Guy Busby
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 5/18/22

DAPHNE — Daphne area voters will go to the polls Aug. 30 to decide if they will increase property taxes to provide more support for local schools.

The Daphne City Council voted Monday, May …

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Daphne school tax vote planned Aug. 30

Posted

DAPHNE — Daphne area voters will go to the polls Aug. 30 to decide if they will increase property taxes to provide more support for local schools.

The Daphne City Council voted Monday, May 2, to send the proposal to the Baldwin County Board of Education. The board will send the resolution to the Baldwin County Commission for action, Jay Ross, city attorney, said.

He said the referendum should be held Aug. 30.

In the referendum, Daphne residents would decide whether to increase local property taxes by three mills for the next 30 years. If approved, the Daphne High School attendance zone would become a separate tax district in which the three-mill ad valorem rate would be charged.

Mayor Robin LeJeune said the referendum will give Daphne area residents a chance to decide if they want to increase taxes to provide more funding for local schools. He said the tax will also allow Daphne residents to decide how the revenue from that source will be spent in Daphne schools.

"That money goes directly to our Daphne feeder pattern," LeJeune said. "You've seen what some of the other schools have been able to do with their funding and being able to have a say and a voice in where that money goes is the bigger thing. The school board, they do a great job, but they're having to spread over a lot of different schools, a lot of different areas. This is an opportunity for Daphne and the community to say there's a specific thing that we want, that we need to fund, and we'll have the funds to do it and get to have a say in how that money's spent."

Three other tax districts in Fairhope, Spanish Fort and Robertsdale, have been established in referendums since 2019.

Under Alabama law, tax districts can be established to support education in one part of a school system. Property taxes can be increased in the district up to three mills for a maximum of 30 years.

The Daphne Education Advisory Committee voted in Feb. 25, to ask the council to consider the tax.

The Daphne tax would bring in about $1.1 million a year, according to school system estimates. That amount would increase as property values rise.

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

Under agreements approved for previous tax districts, all money raised would have to be used in the feeder pattern where the money was collected. The Baldwin County Board of Education cannot cut funding for schools in that district when more money comes in from the local tax.

In other districts, a district school commission is appointed by the city council to supervise the allocation and distribution of the tax revenue. The commission works with district school principals and the county superintendent to determine how the tax revenue will be allocated.

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