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One mil tax on Baldwin ballot

WPMI

As part of tomorrow's special senate election, Baldwin County voters are being asked to vote "yes or no" to renewing a one mil property tax.

On the day before the election some argue this is not a renewal. The school systems stands to lose more than $4 million if the tax is not renewed by voters. Those who oppose the tax are calling it a new tax.

At the polls it'll be a simple "yes or no" for voters. But is it really that simple? Voters have said "no" to the same tax once in 2015 and then again in 2016.

"They went ahead and had the County Commission put a new mill tax at a 50% threshold to pass. It’s a new tax. Now you can cut it anyway you want," Dr. Lou Campomenosi with the Common Sense Campaign.

"Yes we failed. I don't know 100 votes short a little bit over a hundred but I saw it as a positive so we kept moving in a positive direction now I’m hoping the voters will come back and say we appreciate the efforts of the Baldwin County School System," said School Superintendent Eddie Tyler.

The one mill will cost the average homeowner based on a $200,000 home about $20 a year in property tax.

"They've been able to do a very smart thing," said Campomenosi.

The "no" campaign says the County Commission's recent vote to make the 2012 one cent penny sales tax permanent should be enough. "They've bypassed the people they don’t have to worry about 2012 tax renewal coming up so as far as they're concerned everything's good. As far as we're concerned this board of education still does not deserve a funding stream that does not have any accountability to the people, " said Campomenosi.

The superintendent says a recent “robo” call push to get out the vote is not considered campaigning. He says the call was simply to inform voters and to reiterate that the one mill tax is a renewal.

"Vote your conscience I'm not campaigning when I send out a call if that call is going to change somebody’s vote from a yes vote to a no vote you were never going to vote yes in the first place," said Tyler.

The money from this tax is used for operating costs only. Not for salaries and not for school construction.

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