MCPSS revenues almost $90 million short of projected expenditures

Despite an increase in state and local revenues, a $719 million budget approved last week has the Mobile County Public School System scheduled to spend more money than it expects to receive in fiscal year 2015. Approved by the Mobile County school board last week, the FY 2015 budget shows a beginning fund balance of $165 million, but even after an additional $630 million in revenue, the system in on track to end the year with only $75 million in all five of its designated funds. (more…) Continue Reading →

Orange Beach weighing pros, cons of independent school system

Next Tuesday Orange Beach will hold a referendum vote aimed at creating a city-run school system, but some residents still aren’t sold on the idea or the increased taxes separating from Baldwin County Schools would require. Rumors and what some have called “deliberate misinformation from Baldwin County Schools” have become an issue in the waning days of the campaign launched by city leaders in January. The committee for Orange Beach Educational Excellence (OBEE) was created earlier in the year and has been at the forefront of the push for a “yes” vote in the coming referendum. Still, some residents feel the idea has been pushed on them by a “well organized and well-funded” effort from the city’s leadership only seven years after residents voted down a split from the county school system with the City of Gulf Shores. “This was attempted in 2007, and there was something of a landslide vote against it,” resident, and city school system opponent John Stever said. Continue Reading →

Public safety director calls for more minority hiring

With the city of Mobile’s racial demographics over 50 percent black, according to the United States Census Bureau, the city’s executive director of public safety has openly endorsed more minority hiring within the Mobile Fire-Rescue and Mobile Police departments. Retired Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who was hired in July by Mayor Sandy Stimpson to supervise both departments, told Lagniappe one of his overall goals is making these entities more diversified “without sacrificing quality of any sort either.”
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County soccer complex project gets assist from City Council

The Mobile City Council on Tuesday approved funding the county soccer complex project with $1.5 million from $3 million in capital funds originally set aside for park improvements. Councilwoman Bess Rich introduced the amendment to the fiscal year 2015 budget, which was approved by a 5-2 vote. Rich said she introduced the amendment because she had heard Mayor Sandy Stimpson talk about replacing grass soccer fields at Medal of Honor Park with turf fields. She said she thought this was a better use of the capital money because the plan is to have three turf fields at the proposed complex. Councilmen Joel Daves and John Williams voted against the amendment. Continue Reading →

Updated: Council adopts budget after significant changes

The Mobile City Council passed the fiscal year 2015 budget, by a 6-1 vote Tuesday, after making significant changes to funding for retiree healthcare and non-profit organizations through performance contracts. Councilwoman Bess Rich was the lone dissenting vote. During a pre-conference meeting on Tuesday, Rich suggested holding the vote over for a week to allow more time to discuss it and make the public aware of the changes. She also criticized passing the budget, while Mayor Sandy Stimpson was in Washington D.C. lobbying for the I-10 bridge project. Before the budget vote, councilors approved to extend for three years a one-cent sales tax increase that would result in a 17 percent increase for consumers in the city. Continue Reading →