OB city council preps for “historic vote”

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) – Council members in the City of Orange Beach will vote tomorrow on setting a date for a referendum vote to raise taxes for a new city school system.

“It is a historic, in the 30-year history of, the short history of the City of Orange Beach,” Councilman Jerry Johnson said.

Whether or not tomorrow’s vote will be remembered years from now depends largely on how residents vote in September.

They’ll be deciding on a referendum to raise the ad valorem tax rate from its current level of 7.5 mils up to 12.5, a move that would generate an addition $3.5 million annually for the proposed school system.

“This is democracy at its best because the residents of Orange Beach will vote whether or not to approve this tax increase to support the schools,” Johnson said.

And while turnout for smaller elections tends to be weaker, Johnson said he doesn’t think that will be the case this time.

“I think we’ll see a very good turn out because I think people are really holding it dear to their heart as far as what they want. And so I do think it will be a better than average turnout,” Johnson said.

As for Tuesday’s city council vote, it’s expected to pass unanimously. City officials said the cost of setting up the referendum vote would cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

If approved, the referendum vote would be held Tuesday, September 23.

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