Sunday, April 23, 2017

Baldwin City Council and School District Take up Community Center

Kevin Surbaugh

This past week both the Baldwin School Board and the Baldwin City Council took up an issue that they had taken up last year.  First on Monday April 17 the Baldwin School Board meet and heard from Steve Friend, Baldwin City Recreation Commission, addressed the Board.
The commission has scaled back the original plan, that had been presented last year, Friend told the board, the new plan would be completed in two phases. These changes would lower the the mil levy increase from 2.75 mil to 1 mil. The first phase, at a cost of $3.85 million, would include the gym, track, fitness area, office space, multipurpose room and lobby. Then the second phase would include the pool and related areas at a cost of approximately $1.5 million.
Board President Nick Harris commented that he felt that any decision should be public and the earliest they could do that, would be the May meeting, in addition, he was concerned about the appearance that the 1 mil would be for including the Board Offices in the Center.
Board Member Sandy Chapman said she wasn't comfortable making amotion at the April meeting without public input.  With that it was unanimously decided to schedule a public hearing at the regular May meeting, with Friend getting postcard notices out to everyone in the district.
The next night Friend made the same presentation/update to the city council, which again considered a half cent sales tax. Which the council again approved 4-1, scheduling a city wide vote on August 1, 2017. Council Member Tony Brown cast the one dissenting vote.
Brown who has been a consistent no vote, said he was concerned about the impact of a regressive tax on the lower income.  Even though he liked the concept, he felt that it was a matter of priorities.

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