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Voters to reconsider school tax

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
A 40-year old tax that is designed to help the schools within Atmore are up for reconsideration and the voting public will be the ones to decide if it stays or if it goes.
The Atmore City Council voted unanimously at a regular meeting Monday to add the item to the ballot for the November general election which will determine whether the tax, originally passed in 1960 will continue.
The tax, a special five mill ad valorem tax, has been levied and collected by the city at one-half of one percent for each of the years between 1979-1999 on all taxable property in the city limits as assessed by the state.
The tax was approved by voters a second time in 1980 by a total vote of 904 to 186.
According to resolution number 309-A, which was the resolution passed and signed into law in 1980, the additional tax money was used for the purpose of "building, maintaining and repairing public school buildings in the city, and for equipping such schools and providing for the payment of teachers therein, and for such other expenses as may be necessary or proper for the operation of the public schools located in said city (Atmore)."
At Monday's meeting, Councilman Jerry Gehman said the money helped pay for the A.C. Moore Elementary facility and the high school football stadium. He asked how the money would be appropriated.
Soon-to-be Superintendent Buck Powell, who has spent many years in the Escambia Education System, was at the meeting and said he knows first-hand what the money means to the schools in Atmore.
He also said the money is used for other programs that the other schools in the county do not have.
David McKinley made a motion that the resolution be put on the general election ballot for the public to vote on it. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously by the council.
Other items discussed by the council included:
n The City of Atmore entered into an agreement with the state for an Industrial Access Grant to help in the construction of a road off Highway 31 which will serve as another entrance to the Atmore Airport.
The work will be contracted out and the amount of the grant is $320,3000. Any amount over the grant must be paid by the City of Atmore.