When it comes time to fill a vacancy on the Alabama Board of Education, Gov. Robert Bentley will have choices on both sides of the recent Baldwin County tax divide.
Baldwin schools tax supporter Terry Burkle, executive director of the Baldwin County Education Coalition, has told Bentley’s staff that she is interested in appointment to the District 1 seat. So too has Matt Brown, who helped lead a campaign that defeated a proposed 8-mill tax increase in March.
At least one other southwest Alabama resident has applied for the appointment. Ernest Scarbrough, who ran an educational software company before selling it in September 2003, said he has sent his résumé to the governor.
With boarded-up windows, peeling paint and a rooftop tarp that flaps in the ocean breeze, the beachfront retreat at the end of Gulf Way Drive is a $1 million eyesore in paradise.
Odd as it may seem, this pricey dump is Alabama’s coastal governor’s mansion. And it has been falling apart for nearly two decades because of government inaction.
The state has been unwilling to repair the house since it was damaged by a hurricane 18 years ago. Officials also have refused to return the land to the developer who donated the property for a gubernatorial retreat in 1962.
How do you know when Alabama faces a serious budget crisis?
When the tea party starts offering tax increase suggestions.
The North Baldwin chapter of the Common Sense Campaign listened in Bay Minette on Monday evening as state Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, laid out the realities of a General Fund budget facing a shortfall for the coming fiscal year that is at least $250 to $290 million.
A lawsuit filed Friday in Montgomery County against Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and Baldwin County school officials is being privately financed and is an effort to seek clarification on whether school boards can use taxpayer money to fund campaigns, Auditor Jim Zeigler said Monday.
Zeigler, speaking during a news conference at the Wind Chase Inn in Loxley, said the two-part lawsuit aims at stopping school boards throughout Alabama from spending taxpayers money and resources on political activity while seeking restitution from what the Baldwin County School System spent on a March 31 referendum.
In 2004, a Birmingham News survey revealed Daphne coach Glenn Vickery was the highest-paid football coach among the state’s public schools — at $86,180. That’s an increase of 45 percent over the last 11 years for the state’s highest-paid coach. During that same time, the American median household income rose just 14% — from $44,684 in 2004 to $51,915 in 2013, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.
According to figures obtained by AL.com, there are now nine high school football coaches in Alabama who make at least $100,000 per year. Conversely, more than 110 public high schools pay their head football coach less than $60,000 per year. Some of the salary figures obtained reflect 2013 numbers, some schools have changed coaches since the figures were obtained, and some schools declined to provide information requested.
A group of Baldwin County residents is pushing coastal legislators to create a Coastal Insurance Working Group tasked with developing a plan to deliver solutions to comparatively high homeowners insurance rates coastal residents have paid since 2006.
The Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative (HHII) was a major proponent of the Property Insurance Clarity Act of 2012, which required insurance companies authorized to do business in the state to report the number of policies they write in each ZIP code, along with premiums collected and losses incurred.
The bill was retroactive 10 years and included information from hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. According to data collected from the Clarity Act and analyzed by HHII’s Earl Janssen, homeowners in Baldwin and Mobile counties claimed an average of $585 in damages per year, compared to $703 in annual claims upstate.
The data also shows that since 2006, Baldwin County is consistently ranked in the bottom 10 in damage claims statewide. While Baldwin and Mobile homeowners consistently claimed less damages each year, they paid on average about $500 more per policy annually over the last 10 years.
A lawsuit Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler plans to file in Montgomery Circuit Court requests a judge to prohibit local school boards from spending public money to campaign for referendums, and requests the Baldwin County School Board to repay what it spent last month.
If there is one thing almost all sides of the recently defeated Baldwin County School System tax referendum can agree upon, it’s this — the chances of a lottery funding a massive county-wide school construction program has as much chance of happening as someone hitting it big in a Mega Millions jackpot.Ford, who is optimistic one of the lottery proposals can lead to a statewide referendum on the issue in March, said the concept behind the plans is not to raise money to build schools.
“You can’t sponsor a lottery and send it back to local schools,” he said. “That would not work. (Baldwin County School System) has a problem and there are a lot of problems in Alabama right now.”
The Alabama Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee gave a favorable report to a 2016 education budget that most members saw for the first time at today’s meeting.
Several lawmakers expressed concerns about moving the budget on to the full Senate without having fully looked it over and conferred with their constituents.
Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Daphne, who serves as committee chairman, said the budget “isn’t perfect,” but that there’s not much wiggle room. He asked them to move the budget so Senate can move on to working on the General Fund budget, which has a $700 million shortfall.
“The numbers aren’t going to get any better,” he said. Pittman didn’t allow lawmakers to make amendments to the budget.
Wanting more funding for Troy University in the budget, Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, became angry with Pittman during the morning meeting, saying the chairman drafted the budget in a vacuum.
Pittman said there’s no money in the budget to increase funding for Troy.
No debris removal contracts were included in this legislation.
Every weekday, Orange Beach mom Jeanna Bulman or her husband, Chris, drive 30 minutes from their home, passing two elementary schools and crossing a toll bridge to take their oldest son to an Alabama pre-k class in north Foley.
Governor Dr. Bentley plans to pay for more free daycare so parents can continue working. Eventually he’ll get unemployment low enough to start getting paid himself.
It is unknown if the pre-k class is forced to meet in a portable learning trailer or not.
Two Baldwin County businessmen have filed a 130-page ethics complaint against Alabama Senator Trip Pittman, accusing Pittman of violating state ethics laws when he accepted a lucrative oil boom project with the city of Fairhope.
Pittman says he did nothing wrong, he says his Daphne company, Pittman Tractor, was awarded the 639-thousand dollar project because they were the lowest bidder. Pittman calls the ethics complaint political sabatoge.
A clever welcome for Alabama’s new governor will wheel its way through Montgomery on Monday as Baldwin County Commission Chairman Frank Burt fulfills a deal between a county worker and Gov.-elect Dr. Robert Bentley. The parade entry, an Amish-made replica of a mid-1800s physician’s buggy, will bear a sign declaring “The Doctor is IN.”