By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
A measure to give the Cullman County Board of Education control over some potentially lucrative property on Smith Lake passed by 67 percent Tuesday night, and a breakdown of the ballot boxes shows it had majority support in all areas — though some came down to the wire.
The local amendment gives the school system control of 321 acres in Joppa, 122 acres in Chigger Ridge and 435 acres on Smith Lake — including 25,000 feet of shoreline that could be worth several million dollars.
Despite being set aside for “school use” by federal law in 1785, the land had remained under the stewardship of the state until now.
County school officials plan to either develop or sell the property, then place 90 percent of any revenue from the land into a trust and use the interest as a new source of revenue for the system. Funds will be split between both local school systems, with the county receiving 83 percent and the city allocated 17 percent based on student population.
City voters supported the measure by the widest margin, with polling places within the city-limits recording support of at least 70 percent — 3 points above the county average.
The measure carried all county boxes, though some areas were much closer than the wide margin that carried the measure as a whole.
Voters at Stouts Mountain Church passed the amendment by 59 percent; voters at the Joppa Volunteer Fire Department passed the amendment by 57 percent; and voters at the new Cannan polling place passed the amendment by 56 percent.
Areas that voted in favor by the widest margin include the Cullman County Health Department with 75 percent; Moody Town Union Hill Church with 74 percent; Logan Fire Department with 74 percent; Cullman City Hall with 72 percent; and the West Point Community Center with 72 percent.
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.