Two summers ago, Alabama’s beaches were often a mess outside the condominiums and hotels where vacationers flocked for surf, sun and fun.
Beach umbrellas and chairs lay scattered and abandoned. Litter trashed the sugar white sands that were the glimmering lifeblood for tourism-dependent Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
via Coastal Alabama beach clean-up program comes with a high costs, but no new taxes – for now | AL.com.
A parade of Elsanor Elementary School students head into the main building from one of 11 portable classrooms on campus. By this time next year those portable classrooms are expected to be replaced.
via Pay As You Go School Construction Underway in Baldwin Co..
The Bushwacker is a popular drink of choice among locals at Orange Beach and the crowds of tourists who venture to the white sands and inviting surf.But the costs of an icy Bushwacker – as well as Hurricanes or any other concoction powered up by hard liquor – could be headed higher. The Orange Beach City Council is considering a new 6-percent tax on hard liquor starting Jan. 1.Any type of tax increase in this mostly conservative beach city of 5,441 residents is a rarity. But the council is scheduled to look at the issue, along with an across-the-board hike in business license fees, during its meeting on Tuesday. An immediate vote is unlikely.
via Why Orange Beach is flirting with first-ever tax on hard liquor | AL.com.
City leaders in Orange Beach are looking at a proposal that could increase business license fees and add a liquor tax. They say it’s to generate money for a program that helps keep the beaches clean.
Every year thousands of people flock to the beaches of south Alabama. With that in mind, city leaders in Orange Beach say they have to keep up with how the city looks. One of the ways is to increase revenue.
via Orange Beach officials propose tax, business license fee increas – FOX10 News | WALA.
FOX10 News | WALA
ORANGE BEACH, AL – Richard Schwartz waxed philosophical as he pondered the raising of business license fees and a tax on hard liquor the City of Orange Beach is considering.“
It’s just part of what’s going on,” he said. “Everything costs more. Business licenses goes up, everything goes up. The price of shrimp has gone up 24 percent the past year. You just have to pay.
via Orange Beach proposing new tax, business license increase | The Islander.
The city of Foley passed a new gas tax that will add three cents per gallon to gasoline being brought into the city. Foley was one of only a few cities in Baldwin County not to have a gasoline tax and city leaders said it is needed to help pay for road projects.
via Foley hopes to generate $350,000 annually from new gas tax – FOX10 News | WALA.
FOX10 News | WALA
A new gas tax passed by the city of Foley will go into affect later this year and will impact distributors who sell and transport fuel to gas stations.
The three cent tax on motor fuel will be levied on distributors who supply gas stations.
via Gas tax passed by Foley could impact drivers, expert says | WPMI.
Alabama legislators debated today how to use a $1 billion oil spill settlement with BP, seeking common ground on how much should go to coastal counties and how much should go to paying off state debts and to Medicaid.
via Senators strip coastal roads from BP bill, add funds for Medicaid | AL.com.
Higher health insurance costs will soon hit the City of Daphne’s employees, as the city council voted last week to increase the amount of employee participation in the city’s insurance coverage.
Council members said they didn’t really want to have to increase costs on the city’s employees, but that their hands were tied by an unexpected large rate increase.
via Health insurance costs will rise for City of Daphne employees | The Courier.
If you’re one of those who prefer the ease of online shopping and your website of choice is Amazon, you will soon be paying more for your purchases. Starting Nov. 1, Amazon has agreed to start collecting and remitting sales tax in Alabama, meaning buyers will see an addition 8 percent tacked onto their purchases.
via Why Amazon shoppers in Alabama will soon be paying more | AL.com.
ORANGE BEACH – When it comes to asking taxpayers to pay more taxes, that, Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon says, is always a business decision.
via Kennon defends position on school tax district issue | GulfCoastNewsToday.com.
GULF SHORES, AL – When and if a vote comes on a Special Tax District in the Gulf Shores High School feeder pattern, citizens who are residents of the district will contribute 22 percent of the total collection.“
For roughly every $1 homesteaded property owners put in, investment and second home and commercial property owners put in $4,” Kevin Corcoran of the Education Advisory Task Force said.
Some of those same citizens paying the proposed 3 mills on the homes they live in will also be some of those who own other properties making up 78 percent of collections on the proposed new levy.
The average cost to homeowners in Gulf Shores would be about $70 annually and in Orange Beach the extra millage would average about $104 per years.
via Homeowners would foot bill for 22% of money if Special Tax District formed | The Islander.
Alabama families will hit the stores to save money on back-to-school purchases this weekend during the state’s 11th-annual tax-free holiday.
The shopping event begins today and continues through 11:59 p.m. Sunday in hundreds of participating counties and cities across the state. You can read the full list of municipalities on the Alabama Department of Revenue’s website.
via Alabama tax-free weekend: What to know for back-to-school shopping | AL.com.
Alabama and Florida will hold their annual sales tax holidays beginning Friday, August 5, 2016, at 12:01 a.m. and ending Sunday, August 7, 2016, at 12 midnight, giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers, software, clothing, shoes and other items free of state sales tax. Local sales tax may apply.
via Back to School Sales Tax Holiday in Alabama and Florida This Weekend.
ORANGE BEACH, AL – Now all that’s needed is a little understanding.
As in a Memorandum of Understanding. And the understanding needs to come in a hurry. As in before Aug. 1.
But from the sounds of the discussion in the Orange Beach Council Chambers on Tuesday night an understanding might be hard to come by at all, much less before Aug. 1.
Mayor Tony Kennon’s understanding of the memorandum was that it wasn’t fair to Orange Beach and he had several issues to address in it.
“Until those are clearly defined in an MOU, essentially written in blood, I have no intentions of moving forward on anything,” Kennon said. “I think we’re being taken advantage of.”
via Kennon: I want school district pact written in blood | The Islander.
Parents can get in on some saving for school supplies and uniforms by taking advantage of the sales tax holiday. Each state has its own list of tax-free items you’ll be able to buy, like clothing, computers, and other supplies.
via Back To School Sales Tax Holiday.
While grocery stores might be taxing shoppers too much in Alabama, the city of Daphne doesn’t plan to break any new ground when it comes to cutting it back on food taxes.
City officials said this week they will not pursue a cut to the city’s portion of the sales tax on grocery sales, which has been proposed twice in the past four years by mayoral candidate Tim Swanson.
via Why Daphne doesn’t plan on becoming the first Alabama city to eliminate sales taxes on groceries | AL.com.
An $83 bill at Publix in Daphne will produce a shopping cart full of baby formula, breakfast items and meat. But it also comes with an obligation to state and local government in the form of a $7.20 sales tax.
In Daphne, the combined sales tax rate is 9-1/2 percent on almost all purchases, including food items. Compared to other states, many of which forgo taxing food bought at grocery stores, it’s a comparatively high tax.
via Why one Alabama city is taking a renewed look at eliminating sales taxes on groceries | AL.com.
When Rep. Steve McMillan talks with a northern Alabama lawmaker about the need for more money to build coastal roads or bridges, his plea is sometimes met with envy.
“They say, ‘Don’t tell me about it,’” McMillan, the Republican lawmaker from Gulf Shores, said. “They’ll say, ‘Every time my wife goes down there she’s spending money at the Tanger.’ It’s in a joking way, but a lot of them envy our situation.”
via All of Alabama cashes in on beach boom as tourism records shatter | AL.com.
Coastal lawmakers say they want to take on a sacred cow in north Alabama in order to get a fair share of the state’s BP Oil Spill Settlement.
The Tennessee Valley Authority operates the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, several other energy plants, and dams in the northern part of the state, providing power to 17 counties and serving 17-percent of the state’s population. TVA is a self-sustaining federal agency that makes annual payments to the State in lieu of certain taxes.
via Coastal Lawmakers: Handle BP and TVA Money the Same.
If you bought something in Baldwin County over the past six years, one penny on every dollar you’ve spent at the register has gone to public education.
The county’s one-percent school sales tax, which generates about 40 million in annual revenue, will expire in 2018.
School superintendent Eddie Tyler says teacher layoffs and cuts to extracurricular activities, special programs and services are all possibilities if the penny tax sunsets.
via Penny Sales Tax Talks Resurface.
Eddie Tyler held a penny in his right hand and then pushed a $4 stack of quarters onto the floor.
It was an unusual illustration by the Baldwin County School superintendent Thursday into what he feels is the district greatest long-term threat: Financial stability if a penny sales tax isn’t renewed by Legislature before it expires in 2018.
“Each dollar represents $10 million,” said Tyler before tossing the quarters to the ground during a School Board meeting attended by a large group of parents and employees.
via Baldwin schools chief warns of financial ‘Armageddon,’ tosses coins during passionate display | AL.com.
Alabama representative Jim Patterson is asking Governor Bentley to call a special session to further discuss the BP oil spill settlement.
Patterson says lawmakers owe it to the taxpayers to utilize all the money coming from the settlement.
He says he wants to fully fund Medicaid and repay the rainy day fund, even if it means not being able to complete the beach express in Baldwin County and Highway 98 in Mobile.
via Patterson calls for special session | WPMI.
Baldwin County commissioners took action Tuesday, April 19, 2016 that could have a big impact on the Residential Wilderness Camp in Lottie. The Commission hopes to turn over the operation of the facility to a private firm.
There was no discussion as all four Baldwin County commissioners voted “yes” to send out a request for proposals (RFP) as the first step in turning over their Residential Wilderness Camp to a private company. After recent controversy over camp operations and an alleged rape of a female employee by one of the campers, the Commission feels like it’s time for a change.
via Baldwin County looks to privatize Residential Wilderness Camp – FOX10 News | WALA.
FOX10 News | WALA
With the passage of most but not all property tax renewals this past March, Baldwin County school leaders are optimistic they can convince people to vote for another tax renewal around the corner. The school year is put on pause for the start of spring break. Members of the community advisory task force are taking stock of where they are–despite the fact a one-mil property tax failed, they’re confident things are moving in the right direction.
via Baldwin Task Force Looking at Money Challenges.
State lawmakers and Baldwin County leaders are launching discussions about how to proceed with resolving the future of a penny sales tax for schools set to expire in May 2018.
Without the tax revenue, the school system estimates that it could lose at least $34 million fiscal year 2019, which begins Oct. 1, 2018. That revenue supports over 500 jobs, including 144 teachers, 94 clerical positions, 74 maintenance positions and 69 bus drivers.
via With $34 million or more hole possible for Baldwin County schools, leaders seek solutions | AL.com.
According to one area economist, Baldwin County’s support for public education is worse than that of a “third world county.”
Semoon Chang, of the Gulf Coast Center for Impact Studies, said Wednesday he believes it is a “shame” that voters are not providing the maximum support for children in the county. His comments come after voters failed to give a 1-mill property tax renewal the required 60 percent it needed for passage. The mill is set to expire in 2018 and, without it, the school system could be losing $4 million a year.
via Economist: Baldwin County’s support for education worse than ‘third world’ countries | AL.com.
A normal day at school for students and teachers at Stapleton Elementary after a stressful night with school funding at risk.
“We consider it a victory in terms of the numbers that turned out in support,” says superintendent Eddie Tyler.
There were two tax renewals on the Super Tuesday Ballot. A three-mill renewal passed. The one mill, or a loss of about four million dollars, was defeated. “We’re going to step back and enjoy the fact that the public is listening and starting to embrace some of the changes and then get together and talk about how we want to move forward,” says Tyler.
via Baldwin Schools Ready to Move Forward after Renewal Vote.
How you feel and how you voted on the Baldwin County tax renewals depends heavily on where you live.
The top nine voting precincts casting the most “no” votes are mostly rural and mostly in the far north part of the county.
via Stark Geographical Divide in Baldwin Tax Vote.
Baldwin County voters approved renewing 3 mills of property taxes on Tuesday, but a 1-mill renewal failed to accumulate the 60 percent needed for passage.
With all but 151 provisional ballots counted, the 1 mill renewal garnered 59.68 percent, or 33,851 votes in favor to 22,873 or 40.32 percent against. The measure fell 184 votes shy of getting 60 percent.
via Baldwin County voters approve 3 mill renewal, but 1 mill loses out | AL.com.