Council against sales tax increase for entire county
The Baldwin City Council isn't in agreement with the Baldwin Board of Education when it comes to supporting a half-cent sales tax increase to boost public school funding.
The city council agreed at Monday's meeting that it wasn't in favor of the countywide tax increase, just one week after the school board agreed it was in support of the proposal.
"I understand what they're trying to do. The schools do need more money," Council Member Todd Cohen said. "But I think it lets the state off the hook.
"The state would have a lot more ability to raise funds progressively."
Under the tax increase proposal, school funding would be increased by $5.8 million to the schools in the county -- $4.1 for Lawrence schools and $1.7 million to be distributed to six other districts serving schoolchildren of Douglas County. The increase could generate as much as $500,000 for the Baldwin school district.
Because the county has already reached its maximum limit for sales tax, the proposal would have to have state legislature's approval before county residents could decide on the matter.
Council Member Ken Wagner said he didn't even think the proposal would make it past the state level.
"I think it's a non-issue," he said.
Mayor Ken Hayes said he wasn't against education, but didn't think raising sales taxes was the appropriate way to solve the schools' budget problems.
Council Member Ted Brecheisen said he agreed with Hayes.
"I support your position on this," Brecheisen said. "I think it opens up too big a can of worms. It ought to be addressed at another angle than this."
Hayes will share the council's decision at a study session set for 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Lawrence school district's headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.
In other business, the council:
- Approved in a 5-0 vote to accept Killough Construction's bid for asphalt overlay for $29.45 a ton. The money is budgeted annually for the street overlay project.
Assistant Utility Director Bill Winegar said the asphalt overlay work on the streets, including Third and Fourth streets from High Street to Ames Street and Fifth Street from Fremont Street to Ames Street would begin in the next couple of weeks and take only three or four days to complete.
- Approved in a 5-0 vote to change the names of certain streets in the Signal Ridge subdivision to eliminate confusion during emergencies.
Eagle Ridge Circle, from the east right-of-way line of Deer Ridge Court, has been changed to Elk Ridge Drive. Eagle Ridge Circle north to Signal Ridge Drive has been renamed Eagle Ridge Drive.