(ROBERTSDALE, Ala.) Timing is everything as leaders in Baldwin County look for the best way to put a new penny sales tax on the ballot. State lawmakers and County Commissioners met with the school board Friday morning in Robertsdale.
The current penny sales tax is set to expire June 1, 2013. The School Board wants a February special election with no distractions. State lawmakers are stepping in with a push for November.
Loxley resident Tony Smith knows his pennies are adding up for schools.
"What's another penny? That's the way I look at it, you know what I mean. Just go for it," said Smith.
That's the same attitude dominating the results of a recent poll sponsored by the Baldwin County Education Coalition.
"And although I don't like a sales tax simply because it's not as dependable, it's certainly something that appears the public prefers and would support," said Baldwin County School Superintendent Dr. Alan Lee.
Most everyone at Friday's meeting say they recognize a property tax is a more stable source of money, but the results of a survey show voters overwhelmingly support a new penny sales tax. It would replace the current tax after it expires.
It was clear on Friday, however, that getting commissioners to approve a special election would be difficult.
State lawmakers are now drafting their own resolution, hoping to put the penny sales tax vote on the ballot during November's general election.
"The legislature has put into place a position for us to be able to call for a referendum," said State Representative Randy Davis of Daphne.
"Only thing I had a problem with last time was they increased the sales tax and it seems the classroom size is a bit large. I thought that was the purpose of the increase to keep teachers and everybody working in the schools and people still got laid off and the classroom size is still a bit large. But anything for the schools I don't have a problem with," said Linda McKillion of Loxley. Commissioners will officially vote on Tuesday.
If they say no to a special election it looks like this tax vote will be on the presidential ballot in November.