Bay County Commission approves Bay District Schools to place tax referendum on April ballot

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 3:11 PM CST
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Bay District Schools employees may be interested in an agenda item passed by the Bay County Commission Tuesday morning.

The board approved to allow Bay District Schools to place a tax referendum on the upcoming ballot in April.

If passed, this tax is projected to bring an extra $18 million to the district budget to be used for employee salaries, school safety, and mental health services.

The average taxpayer would pay $100 per $100,000 dollar home a year if voters vote to approve it.

“You might not have a kid i.e., in the school district, but you might have a relative, or a neighbor, or someone you know that does work for the school district since now we are the largest employer in Bay County,” said Bay County School Board Chairmen Steve Moss. “Our goal is to pay our employees a more competitive wage.”

Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt said he knows some people may not favor another tax but to consider the employees on the receiving end.

“We can’t pay a living wage to most of our employees if we don’t get some more funding somewhere, somehow. This is the only method we have. There are no other options. I would have rather another half-cent sales tax and 60% of it paid by tourists. That’s what I would like to do. We don’t have that option. The state does not allow us to do that,” Husfelt said.

Gulf and Walton Counties already have this extra millage in place. The tax would last four years.

It can be voted on again on future ballots.

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