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Commission approves property tax

Commissioners have approved legislation for the renewal of the 12 mills of property tax for the school district. Now, it’s up the voters of Butler County to approve it.

The issue will be on the ballot in June.

County officials reiterated this is not a new tax, but a renewal of an existing tax, one that – as required by Alabama law – must be voted on every 10 years.

Non-renewal of the tax would cost the county millions of dollars in state funding, said board of education attorney Pete Hamilton on Thursday. While the state requires the collection of at least 10 mills in order to receive funding, the rejection of the tax would require the county to hold a special election – similar to what happened in 2000 when voters initially voted down the tax – to have the tax renewed.

At least $15.1 million in state funding is tied to the required millage collection, approximately half of the local school district’s annual budget.

Roads remain a concern

Repairing roads damaged in Butler County due to December’s freezing temperatures and flooding will cost an estimated $300,000 to $350,000, said engineer Dennis McCall. However, an estimated 85 percent of any county expenditures can be recovered, he said, because the areas affected were included in a state of emergency declaration by the federal government.

At least 25 to 30 roads, the bulk of them unpaved, have suffered damage, said McCall.

“Because of the wet conditions we’re seeing springs come up in the middle of our dirt roads,” he said.

McCall said the fear is that there could be similar problems on some of the county’s paved roads. There’s been an increase potholes, he said, because the road beds are saturated with water. And road repairs can’t be launched until materials at the road department’s facility dry out.

McCall called conditions the worst he’d seen.

“It’s very bad…and this has been a very unusual year,” he said. “We’re just having to ask the public to be patient.”

Precinct change

The commission approved a resolution moving the voting precinct formerly at the Georgiana National Guard Amory to the city’s Nutrition Center on N. Palmer Ave.

The city’s national guard armory has closed.