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Council approves $1.2 million BOE request from education tax - Andalusia Star News

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Council approves BOE request for $1.2 million from education tax

Released at 11:00 am on Saturday, August 20, 2022

The Andalusian City Council on Tuesday approved a request from the Andalusian City School System to fund a number of projects from the half-cent education sales tax.

The Andalusian Superintendent of Education, Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, has spoken to the council about the many projects the school system is working on and asked for $1.2 million in education sales tax revenue to be released and funded into the school system.

Among the projects funded will be $500,000 for principal and interest payments related to the construction of the high school stadium and auditorium, part of which will be used for stadium maintenance.

Approximately $125,000 will be used for STEM class development starting in January or August 2023. The funds will cover travel expenses to systems where similar classes are already in place, renovations to free up classroom space, and start-up materials.

Shakespeare also reported that the funds would be used for a mentoring program in middle school.

“This program is for students who lack opportunities for others,” he said, noting that the program includes after-school tutoring, enriching activities, and exposure to career opportunities. Added that it is included.

Other items in the funding request included leasing Apple computers, ongoing funding for music and art teachers, education technology professionals, and laptop updates for teachers. Shakespeare also asked for funding to be included to cover the cost of a feasibility study to determine the feasibility of a college for this system.

The council unanimously approved the supervisor’s request.

This $1.2 million is about $100,000 more than the school system received in 2021.

Carryover from last year is a previously approved project to build a maintenance shop at a cost of $125,000.

An education excise tax was approved in 2013.

Measures were also approved to add five steps to the city’s employee compensation plan.

“We are facing a tremendous labor shortage and this is an attempt to increase hiring flexibility,” Thompson said. “There are performance reviews in the proposed budget, both on the city side and on the utility side, that are not eligible because they are capping their workforce. Ultimately, this is how we retain the best employees I also think it is.”

Other items discussed were:

  • Approving the appointment of Bridges Anderson to the Public Utilities Commission.

Anderson is a former two-term city council member and former public utility committee member, serving as a city council representative for six years. He fills the seat previously held by Jim Smith, who recently retired from the board.

Mayor Johnson nominated Anderson to the board, and he was appointed by unanimous vote of the council.

  • Waive vendor business license fees associated with the annual Gun and Knife Show at the Kiwanis Center on August 20th and 21st.
  • Approves an ordinance to allow recently acquired real estate to become part of a capital improvement co-operative district.

Accommodations are located at E. Three Notch and Third Avenue.

City official John Thompson said when he purchased the property about two months ago, it was mistakenly given to the city of Andalusia instead of the cooperative district. As a way to rectify the mistake, the city had to make property surplus and move it to the cooperative district.

The council has suspended the rules allowing immediate votes passed unanimously.

  • Approves renewal of five-year lease on property associated with an old landfill near Debro Hill.

The land has been leased by Robert Bishop since 2006.

  • Approved the purchase of shuttle loaders for public works landfills. The loader is purchased from a state bid list for $183,000.
  • We are listening to the report and request for funding from Laura Wells, Director of the Andalusian Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Wells asked the council to approve the purchase of sleigh-themed train cars compatible with previously purchased unused train engines. A sleigh is used to transport Santa Claus during Candyland events. The council approved the purchase for $12,900.

Wells also reported that the circus performers traditionally associated with Candyland will not be used this year, instead featuring children’s characters offered through Meredith’s Miracles. He said the character attracted a larger audience than a circus performer at half the cost.