While money is tight, Baldwin County’s newest town has accumulated a surplus that will help in the coming years, an auditor told municipal officials.
The Magnolia Springs Town Council voted Tuesday night to approve a budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year.
While sales tax expectations are down — from $102,000 last year to a projected $80,000 in the new budget — the town will have more money this year when $87,100 in grants and a $40,000 surplus are added in, according to budget reports.
By keeping expenses low since the town was incorporated in 2006, Magnolia Springs has not run up debts that have hit some cities when revenue dropped in recent months
After being closed to the public more than three years, the gates to “The Springs” were unlocked without ceremony Friday, reopening the site popular with residents for decades.
While work continues to complete the project and an official opening still has not been scheduled, residents can check out the new observation deck overlooking a restored waterway, said Town Councilwoman Reva Hinson.
“It’s been closed since before the town incorporated two years ago,” Hinson said. “It feels like it’s taken forever, but there’s been a lot of work. People have been calling Town Hall asking ‘When are you going to reopen The Springs?’ and ‘Will we be able to go swimming again?’ Well, they won’t be able to swim anymore, but it’s reopened.”
Regulations that go into effect next week should help protect the town’s appearance and environment, according to officials.
The Magnolia Springs Town Council voted earlier this week to approve ordinances establishing regulations for sewer systems and a commercial zoning overlay district for the area along U.S. 98. The council also voted to lift a building permit moratorium established in June.
The sewer ordinance restricts placing lines within 200 feet of the Magnolia River and sets other limits on wastewater systems in the area.
The United Bank off Highway 49 and Highway 98 was robbed Friday afternoon. Baldwin County Sheriff’s Deputies have obtained surveillance photos of the man who robbed the bank. Deputies are asking anyone with information to contact the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office at (251) 937-0202.
The County Commission moved closer Tuesday to fulfilling its goal of turning “Garbage to Gold” by finalizing a grant application to help fund a $68,500 plan to run a generator with landfill byproducts.
The county is seeking $40,000 from the Department of Economic and Community Affairs and, if approved, would put up $28,500 in local matching funds, according to commission records.
The money would be used to install a 25-kilowatt generator at the Magnolia Landfill that would be powered mostly by natural gas produced by biodegrading waste. A small amount of biodiesel fuel being produced at the landfill will be used as well, officials said.
Baldwin’s first law enforcement agreement between a town and the county takes effect Monday when a deputy starts full-time duty assigned to Magnolia Springs.
Deputy Wayne Gandy, a 26-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, has been assigned as the law enforcement officer for the county’s newest municipality, Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack Jr. said. Under the agreement, the Sheriff’s Office will provide law enforcement services for Magnolia Springs at a cost of $50,000 a year.
Traffic, development and environmental preservation are among the main issues to be considered in preparing a comprehensive plan for Baldwin County’s newest municipality, according to officials and residents.
The Magnolia Springs Town Council will have a final public meeting tonight to discuss the plan. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Community Hall on Oak Street, said Mayor Charles Houser.
Three polling places — Elberta Civic Center, Foley Civic Center and Magnolia Springs Wesleyan Church — will be open for voting in the school board race today. Only District 5 voters who vote at those three polling sites will be allowed to vote.
For the two statewide races on the Republican runoff ballot — Beth Kellum vs. Lucie McLemore for the Place 1 seat on the State Court of Criminal Appeals and Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and Matt Machney for the Public Service Commission — Baldwin County’s voting precincts and poll sites are as follows and will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. Some precinct numbers are not consecutive.
The District 5 Baldwin County School Board race will be decided once and for all on July 15th.
Challenger Angie Swiger beat incumbent Margaret Long to win the June 3rd Republican Primary by 65 votes. But late that night, Probate Judge Adrian Johns said they discovered the District 5 race was not on the ballots given to voters in 3 split precincts; Elberta, Foley and Magnolia Spings.
Monday, Attorney General Troy King recommended Baldwin County hold a new primary on July 15th for those three precincts.
Delta Elementary is one of five Baldwin County schools slated to add a pre-kindergarten class when school resumes Aug. 11.
Adding pre-kindergarten at five schools — Delta, Magnolia, Robertsdale, Elberta and Silverhill elementary — will increase Baldwin County’s total to 16 pre-K classes on 15 campuses, said Baldwin Schools’ Federal Programs Director Cindy Chandler. Foley Elementary has two pre-K classes.
Many low-income parents want their children to attend day care or preschool, Chandler said, but that’s often impossible when the average cost of day care is $460 per month.
A revote in three precincts in south Baldwin County is the best way to determine the winner in the Baldwin County Board of Education District 5 race involving Angie Swiger and incumbent Margaret Long, the statewide Republican Steering Committee ruled Friday.
The state committee’s decision affirmed an earlier ruling by a Baldwin County Republican committee, said state Republican Communications Director Philip Bryan.
That means the party wants a revote of District 5 voters at polling places in Magnolia Springs, Foley and Elberta.
The second-chance election would be conducted July 15
Baldwin County Board of Education candidate Margaret Long has asked the state Republican Party to call a complete revote of school board District 5.
Today, Long filed a formal appeal of a local party officials’ decision to hold a revote in three disputed precincts — Elberta, Magnolia Springs and Foley. Long said she believes the three-precinct vote is likely illegal.
The second-chance election to determine south Baldwin County’s representative on the Baldwin County Board of Education may not be held July 15, despite last week’s decision by a local Republican Party committee.
Several legal questions must be answered before a revote can be scheduled, said Baldwin Probate Judge Adrian Johns, who added he may request “an expedited attorney general’s opinion” before placing the election on the July 15 runoff ballot.
For starters, Johns said Monday, he has received no formal request from state or local Republican Party officials about how they want his office to proceed. In addition, a revote may need approval from the U.S. Justice Department, Johns said, and he wants direction on how to conduct absentee balloting.
But Baldwin County Republican Party Chairman Don McGriff said decisions about primary elections are left to the discretion of the party. Based on that, he said, there’s no reason the school board race should not to be included on the July 15 ballot.