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4 mills in ad valorem tax fails at polls

By By Kerry Whipple-Bean
County voters failed Tuesday to renew a total of 4 mills in ad valorem taxes to benefit Escambia County Schools.
Voters on Tuesday passed a 3-mill tax renewal for Brewton city schools – but did not pass a 3-mill tax for the rest of the county and a 1-mill tax shared by both school systems.
Atmore's Jack Ward wasn't in favor of the tax, but voted for it because he knows the money is needed.
"We don't need another tax, but I believe teachers need more money," he said.
On the other hand, Linda Godwin, who was voting at the Atmore Public Library along with Ward, was all for the tax.
"I am a teacher, so I am all for it," she said.
Hurley Dela Fosse said he is a proponent of education.
"I support education in all forms and I have been involved in education for a long time," he said.
Brewton City Schools Superintendent Lynn Smith, who was waiting for election returns at the Escambia County courthouse Tuesday night, said he expects the county to try again with the tax renewal.
"We're not able to walk away from something the county's been paying for 80 years," Smith said, referring to the age of the tax. "We're not going to let the county go it alone. What's good for the county is good for us."
The 1-mill tax means about $70,000 for city schools, Smith said.
The city tax passed easily with 80 percent, but the countywide tax lost with 51 percent – it needed a 60 percent majority to pass. Only 42.5 percent voted for the 3-mill tax for the rest of the county.
Turnout was low across the county. Alco saw only 47 voters – its lowest total for any election.
"We didn't expect a large turnout, but we thought a low turnout would be in our favor," Smith said.
(Publisher Adam Prestridge and sports editor Matthew Nascone contributed to this article.)