Friday, August 29, 2014

Fairhope Single Tax Calculator

     Calculating the Demonstration fee and taxes due for Fairhope Single Tax Corporation property can be confusing and time consuming. The Fairhope Courier has developed this interactive calculator to determine the total cost of taxes and fees for Colony property.
     Edit the amounts in blue to match Baldwin County property tax records and the total will be automatically calculated. Double click on the values to edit. 
     Here is a link to search Baldwin County tax records to collect the information needed. Be sure to use "appraised" and not "assessed" value for the land only and to enter the name in this format: "FST Last name, First name". At the bottom of the tax page is a link that says, "View Appraisal Record", this is where the property tax is split into "Land" and "Improvements". Be sure to only use the appraised land value to achieve the correct results.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fairhope Single Tax Colony August Meeting

     The August meeting of the Fairhope Single Tax Colony was brought to session promptly at 6:30pm by President Turner. The member and lessee portion of the meeting had a few speakers mainly concerning prior actions taken by the board and the rejection of three lessees for membership. The Colony does not maintain a set criteria for acceptance and the lessees were not given a reason they were denied. The Colony allows 20 people per year to take the class to make them eligible for membership. At the current rate, it would take about 160 years for the 3,200 lessees to become members. 
     Director Jester spoke about the editorializing of minutes produced by Secretary Stejskal. He researched past minutes and stated the secretary has power to edit the minutes but not the ability to interject personal preferences. He noted the struggle to get by-laws passed and mentioned the Colony is currently being sued for the expulsion of members. The agenda listed attorney fees paid for services rendered for removal of the three members totaling about $8,200. This does not include the current lawsuit, only counsel during the revocation of membership.
     At this point, President Turner stated the member/lessee portion was over and it was time to enter the business portion and required all non-members to leave the meeting. All non-members then left the meeting and assembled outside to discuss the happenings of the meeting. The rejected applicants questioned why they were denied and made assumptions about the possible reasoning. Those lessees and other interested parties conversed for about an hour and then left, vowing to return again next month.
The 2014 membership class begins September 2 at 7:30pm.
The next Colony meeting is September 10, at 6:30pm.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fairhope Single Tax Colony Meeting for July

     The Fairhope Single Tax Colony meeting for July was called to order promptly at 6:30pm by President Lee Turner. After the Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, Pres. Turner asked if there were any member/lessee concerns at which point a lessee inquired about treasury reports. The lessee asked if there were any financial reports and if the lessees were privy to them. Treasurer Colin Keleher noted there were monthly, as well as annual, treasury reports available at the front desk for anyone interested in viewing them. The lessee asked for the lessees to be notified of this. 
     After a bit of confusion about who would speak next, Dean Mosher was chosen as there were nonmembers present who wanted to hear his presentation. Those nonmembers would not be allowed to hear the presentation of Thomas Hospital associates nor the computer company presentation about file scanning and storage which would be heard during the "Business" portion of the meeting and therefore no nonmembers would be allowed to attend despite laws to the contrary (Section 10A-20-9.05).
     Dean Mosher came before the board and membership with a question and to share some history of the organization. "The question I have for you is a Georgist question." he said after telling a brief history of the past 30 years of the Colony during which he has been very involved. He continued, "Under any kind of Georgist system, how can we justify taking 70% of the leasehold value, in condemnation, that they have created?... Because I would like you to rethink that position."
     After Mr. Mosher spoke, another member of the audience voiced his concern on the conflict of interest rising from President Turner's position with the Colony and his position as chairman of the city's planning commission. The audience member referenced specific cases, properties and events that were in conflict with Colony and City ordinances. Secretary Leslie Stejskal stated there wasn't a conflict of interest. All nonmembers then left the meeting as required by the board.

Mr. Mosher's full presentation can be heard here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Colony Lands and City Limits

Yellow is the City, Green is Colony land in the City and the Blue striped area is Colony land outside the City. 
These are the current maps distributed by the City and the Chamber of Commerce. The Fairhope Single Tax Colony does not maintain a map of its properties. 
Shading of map by

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fairhope Single Tax Colony Meeting for June

     The Fairhope Single Tax Colony monthly meeting for June 10th was held in the small library in the FSTC office. Present were most of the board and approximately seven members. Two of the members present had their membership revoked the previous night, June 9, by the executive council in a 4-1 vote.
     After the "member/lessee concern" portion of the meeting, any nonmembers were required to leave. The two members were then told to leave as they were now considered nonmembers and could not stay for the remainder of the meeting which is referred to as the "business" portion. One member then objected and asked Trustee Leigh Rogers to please read Article VI Section 2 from the FSTC Constitution. Trustee Rogers resisted and stated that a meeting had been held earlier to discuss this particular section of the Constitution and had decided to interpret it to mean the members had lost their rights the previous day when the council voted to revoke their membership. The member insisted at which point Trustee Rogers read the section aloud. The section reads:
"No measure of general legislation passed by the Executive Council shall be in force until thirty days have elapsed after its passage without the filing of a petition for its submission to the membership; provided, that nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the immediate taking effect of any order of the Executive Council necessary to the execution of measures already in force."
      Treasurer Colin Keleher then spoke and stated it didn't seem as though the revocation was in effect. Trustee George Gilmore then arrived at the meeting and was asked to read the same section. He obliged and then the council continued the push to evict the members at which point the two members left the meeting. 
The FSTC meets the second Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is Wednesday, July 9.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fairhope Single Tax Colony June 9th Special Meeting

     The Fairhope Single Tax Colony held a special meeting June 9, at 6:30pm in Centennial Hall on the Faulkner State Campus. The meeting was called due to a petition filed by a small portion of the membership to remove two members. The members in question allegedly violated the spirit of the corporation by referring lessees to legal counsel, writing about their understanding of the rules of the corporation, writing about Alabama Supreme Court rulings concerning the Colony, violating the constitution, and spreading misinformation about the corporation and its members.
     Immediately after the meeting was called to order by President Lee Turner, Trustee George Gilmore was called to speak. After a few moments of wordy rhetoric about Georgist philosophy, he was interrupted by a member asking what the meeting was all about. He tried to tie everything together but handed the meeting back to Pres. Turner who then required everyone who wasn't a member to leave. The Colony is a special circumstance 501c4 non-profit organization in Alabama and as such its meetings are open to the public by proxy. When several audience members vocalized their opposition to leaving, Pres. Turner said they would be forced to call the police. Those not wanting to leave then offered to be arrested at which point a legal debate began amongst the attorneys present. After approximately 45 minutes, Pres. Turner adjourned the meeting with instruction that it would resume in the Colony office library with members and their attorneys only present. Anyone else wishing to stay must remain outside the building on the sidewalk.
     Once the meeting resumed in the Colony library, about seven participants waited outside the offices. After approximately an hour, the Fairhope Police responded to a call from someone inside the building worried about the safety of the occupants as they thought the calm, small crowd was there to presumably inflict harm on an unknown person inside the building for unknown reasons. The people outside had been asked to be there and were well within the law and were not being loud or disruptive. The act of calling the police was presumably a bully tactic to intimidate the witnesses gathered outside. The police then left due to a "shots fired" emergency call somewhere else in the city. After the meeting adjourned, the members filed into the street airing their grievances to those still present. The executive counsel voted 4-1 to remove the two members from the organization. Many members started a petition to bring the memberships in question to a membership wide vote, not dependent on the five executive directors.
     A  public opinion poll of those present at the meeting resulted in three votes to remove the members and 35 to keep the members in good standing and to enforce the public's opportunity for attendance at the monthly meetings.
     The next meeting of the Fairhope Single Tax Colony is Tuesday 10th at 6:30pm in the Colony office library.
     To read all of articles concerning the Fairhope Single Tax Colony, click here.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Primary Election Ballots for Voting Tomorrow, June 3rd.

This is the Democratic Ballot.

This is the Republican Ballot.

Ballots for June 3, 2014 primary election in Baldwin County, Al. 

Democrats may find themselves voting for a Republican if they want to have any say in choosing their political leadership.