Superintendent addresses allegations he is buying votes for April tax referendum vote

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–The upcoming Special Election on a one-mill property sales tax for Bay District schools is generating a lot of traffic on social media. School district officials want voters to approve the tax referendum to help operate schools and raise employees’ salaries. But, some are accusing Superintendent Bill Husfelt of campaigning for the tax on school property.

A FaceBook post is accusing Superintendent Bill Husfelt of trying to buy votes in the upcoming April tax referendum vote. The allegation is that Husfelt is meeting with district employees and promising pay raises if they vote yes on the referendum.

Husfelt admits he meets with employees.

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“I have met with probably 10 to 15 different meetings already talking about it, and explaining it,” Superintendent Husfelt said.

Husfelt says he’s discussing the referendum, but he says he has not told anyone how to vote.

“I tell them at the beginning and I tell them at the end, they have to decide how to vote but I’m giving them the information,” Husfelt said.

Potential raises are no secret. School district officials said that’s part of what they intend to do if the tax passes.

“While they know they’re going to get raises if this passes, how much that’s going to be, nobody knows,” Husfelt said.

As for breaking campaign laws by speaking about the referendum on school property, Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen, says the Superintendent is operating within the law. But he adds that if any voter feels they’ve witnessed election laws violations they should file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics.

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