An effort to increase property taxes in Daphne is catching voters by surprise during Tuesday’s special election. According to a group of critics, this was deliberate.

If passed, the tax increase could contribute a little over $1 million to the Daphne feeder pattern. The feeder pattern is part of Baldwin County Schools. It consists of the elementary and middle schools which feed Daphne High School.

The increase would raise taxes by 3 mills and is supported by Daphne Mayor Robin LeJeune. 

The Common Sense Campaign Tea Party Group (CSCTP) is speaking out in opposition to the tax. 

CSCTP representative and former Daphne city councilman John Lake told 1819 News that the city’s educational advisory committee kept the potential increase quiet leading up to the vote.

“I didn’t know about this tax increase until about a week and a half ago,” Lake said. “Nobody knew anything about it … Nobody has told me anything about it. However, the schools are passing out flyers in the school system. The only people who know anything about it are the parents. Why are they the only ones being told anything?”

According to Lake, the tax would place a burden on those who can least afford it and warned against tax creep, a phenomenon where lawmakers consistently pass small tax increases that add up over time.

“Last year, [the schools] got almost half a billion dollars,” Lake added. “With the number of kids they have, that adds up to close to $18,000 a student … [The students are] failing in math. They’re failing in reading and they think more money is going to fix it? It’s not. They need to use the money they have more efficiently.”

Lake said the CSCTP does not stand against teachers but rather a tax that, if passed, would remain in place for the next 30 years.

According to reports, LeJeune denies that there was a coordinated effort by the city to remain quiet about the referendum.

If you live in Daphne and want to know where to vote, visit this website.

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