Fairhope, Alabama is a Single-Tax community on Mobile Bay. Like the Village of Arden, Delaware (where I live), land there is held in trust and property taxes are based on the square-feet of land you lease from the trust, not the value of your house. Confused? Look up Henry George, a political economist in the late 1800s.
We spent two hours in the offices of the Fairhope Single Tax Corporation, talking to the staff and one of the trustees. Their set-up is very different from Arden’s, in part because Fairhope is a tourist destination and Arden is a tiny village. A hundred leaseholds can change hands every month in Fairhope while Arden might have one a month.
We also visited Fairhope’s peaceful bayside park, a gift to the City of Fairhope from the Corporation. I especially liked the birdhouses planted in the bay.
Randy wrote: I’ve been there. The town didn’t seem the cohesive one we have here where all the homes are in one big area together. It seemed split up with some Single Tax and some not. I might be confused…!
[ Danny replied: You are absolutely correct, Randy! The Single-Tax trust in Fairhope owns 4,500 acres of land in and around the town, about 20% of the city. The boundaries of the trust look like a gerrymandered congressional district. 800 leaseholds is the number I found on-line. Some of those leaseholds might have apartments on them since Fairhope is a tourist town. They do still adhere to their version of the Single Tax. I am reminded of the divisions within Christianity. When you start asking if someone is a true Christian, you get lots of different answers. Is Fairhope a true Single-Tax community? Even they admit it is not, but elements are still in place. ]