The three biggest news stories for last week were clearly the rejection of the half-cent sales tax for healthcare; the revelation of the magnitude of the drug problems in Century; and the Constitutional officers of Escambia County all asking for budget increases with the sheriff leading the way – $10 million jump.
The referendum failed because the majority of the voters (nearly 2 to 1) didn’t want any more sales taxes. I’m not sure that if the county had asked the voters to approve its penny sales tax this summer, instead of March 2006, that it would have passed either. The healthcare plan could have been tweaked and Access Escambia might have campaigned differently, but in the end the voters still would have voted against paying for with a new sales tax.
Century is a drug haven and causing problems for Flomaton and south Alabama. The sheriff admits there is a problem. We have Century city councilperson admit she’s had to stop her car for a drug deal to finish on the road ahead of her. It gets two stories in the daily, then disappears off the pages.
The budget workshop was eye-opening. Property appraiser Chris Jones is the only constitutional officer that submitted a budget with a reduction over 2006-07 figures. Sheriff McNesby asked for $10 million more. Do these guys read the papers?