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Schools’ mills tax on ballot in 2010

10 years ago Butler County voted down a tax they’d been paying for nearly 40 years. County officials are hoping to avoid that this year.

The 12 mills property tax paid by residents for the county’s school district is up for renewal in June. In 2000, voters – many perhaps thinking the referendum was for a new tax – said nay to tax renewal, which generates an estimated $1.3 million in revenue for the local school district. That might not sound like much for a district operating on an annual budget of $28 million, but the local property tax is tied to $13.5 million in state funding, said Interim Superintendent Joseph Dean.

“It’s something that we really need to make the public aware of,” he said.

The nay vote in 2000 caused school and county officials to scramble together enough resources to hold a special election in May 2001. The second vote passed overwhelmingly, but the election cost $50,000, said Circuit Clerk Allen Stephenson.

Stephenson said officials are hoping to avoid such issues this year by educating the public early and often.

Aside from the tax issue, several local offices are up for election in 2010. Those offices, and incumbents, include:

Butler County Sheriff (Kenny Harden).

District Attorney for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, which includes Butler, Lowndes, and Crenshaw (John Andrews).

Butler County Coroner (Wayne Garlock).

State Senator Dist. 30, which includes Pike, Lowndes, Butler, Autauga, Elmore, and Crenshaw (Wendell Mitchell – D, Luverne).

House Representative Dist. 90, which includes Butler, Conecuh and Crenshaw (Charles Newton – D, Greenville).