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Council sets tax-extension election

News Staff Writer

During their Monday, September 23 meeting, Atmore City Council members tackled a relatively heavy agenda that included setting the date for an election to determine if a city school tax that has been on the books for more than six decades would be extended.
The council also granted a tax abatement to a local industry, approved the purchase of a new garbage truck and a new courtroom air conditioning system, renewed the term of a city planning commission member and approved two events planned during the next four weeks.
The extension of a 5-mil ad valorem tax to help fund schools within the city passed unanimously, with no discussion. The tax has been levied since at least 1958 and generates “around $330,000 to $350,000” annually to help pay for assistant principals at Escambia County High and Escambia County Middle schools, a counselor and choral instructor who each split time between those same schools, and a foreign language teacher.
“This is not a new tax; it’s just extended the same tax for another 20 years,” Mayor Jim Staff reminded the council prior to the vote. The election will be held on Tuesday, November 12. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Atmore City Hall.
Council members unanimously approved the purchase of a new garbage truck that will be bought from Sourcewell at a price of $179,789.95 and will replace the current truck, which Staff said during a recent council workshop “has spent more time behind a wrecker that in front of one.” The current truck will be repaired and kept as a spare, he said.
The council also approved an emergency declaration that allows for purchase of a new air conditioning system for the city courtroom. City Clerk Becca Smith said a local business was to come look at the current system this week and give the city a price.
“We had District Court and Municipal Court in there today, and without an air conditioner no one was happy,” Smith said.
In other business, the council”
*renewed the six-year Atmore Planning Commission term of Alex Jones.
*approved the blocking of Ridgely Street for the October 17 Ribs on Ridgeley event, which will be held from 5-8 p.m.
*approved a permit for the ECHS homecoming parade that will start at 2 p.m. next Friday, October 4. The parade will follow the same route as last year: down East Craig Street to Main street, left on South Main to Lindbergh Avenue, then down Buck Powell Drive to the ECHS parking lot.