Three week left until pivotal Orange Beach vote

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) – With just three weeks to go before election day in Orange Beach, signs are starting to pop up for those for and against a school split.

As people think about how they want to vote, Mayor Tony Kennon wants to remind voters that it’s not just about a five mil property tax increase.

“If that passes, there will be a half cent increase on sales tax and a one percent increase on lodging tax. That is the package to fund the school system and that’s been well advertised,” Kennon said.

He said if voters reject the property tax increase, the lodging tax and sales tax increase never go into play.

Opponents of the move worry that this may not be the end of higher taxes though.

“There’s no guarantee, of course, that the city won’t come back later for additional tax increases and Baldwin County schools will certainly experience revenue needs in the future because the county’s growing, enrollment’s up, they’ll need new schools and we will have to pay for that,” John Stever, an opponent of the school split, said.

Supporters of the split argue that since more taxes are needed to support a growing Baldwin County that they should keep them local and add more local control.

“We are having meetings. We are having a support rally tonight. We’ve got another one planned for Thursday. So lots of events. We’re going throughout the neighborhoods, sharing the facts with the people so they will have factual information to base their decision on in three weeks,” Rebecca Wilson, a supporter of the split, said.

Neither group said they have a plan b if the vote goes in favor of the other party. They said it’ll be up to grassroots campaigning to try and sway people before election day rolls around.

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