By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
GARDENDALE — Officials report a steady, moderate turnout for today's refendum on a property tax to pay for a proposed Gardendale school system.
Voting is taking place inside the Gardendale Civic Center, beginning at 7 a.m. this morning. The polls close at 7 p.m.
Civic Center director Keith Mosley, who is overseeing the election, said that turnout was brisk this morning, mainly with older voters.
"Many of them were trying to get in here before the weather turned colder," he said. (The forecast called for increasing winds with falling temperatures throught the day, and lows tonight dipping into the 20s.)
Mosley said there are roughly 9,000 voters eligible for this referendum, and that a 30 percent turnout is typical for municipal votes — though this referendum is anything but typical.
The ballot is simple, with one question detailing the proposed 5-mill tax increase, and two choices: "favor" or "oppose."
If enacted, the tax would be added to the initial 5-mill tax enacted by the city council already, and those funds would go toward establishing a new school system that would break away from the Jefferson County Schools.
Mosley said that all voters in line at 7 p.m. would be allowed to vote. Once the last voter has cast a ballot, tabulation of the votes should be fairly quick, he added.