Thomas Co. prepares for voting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomas Co. prepares for voting

March 13, 2007

Thomasville -- Thomas Countians can vote to continue or cancel their one cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, starting this week. Early voting began yesterday and will continue through Friday.

The current local option sales tax for county and city schools in Thomas County was approved back in 2002.

The school systems are asking voters to continue that one cent sales tax, hoping to raise $48 million for capital projects for their schools.

If the ballot for continuing the Thomas County SPLOST looks lengthy, it is. But there's a lot to cover.  "Both of the school systems have specific capital needs, like the county schools are going to retire some debt from the previous SPLOST," says David Cone, Chairman of the Concerned Citizens for Better Schools.

With money from the last approved SPLOST, the county school system built Thomas County Middle School and next to it, Hand in Hand primary school.

Because of rising cost in steel and concrete, the construction of those buildings cost around $11 million more than was expected.

If approved, SPLOST would generate around $32.3 million for county schools. City schools also have big plans for the money.

"In the city there's going to be some new buildings built, their classrooms are overcrowded and they're going to expand some of that and they're going to do some renovations to some athletic facilities," said Cone. 

The $15.7 million the city schools would receive would also allow them to get some additional buses. SPLOST needs a majority vote to pass.

The special election is on Tuesday but Thomas Countians don't have to wait to cast their ballot. Early voting runs through Friday.

"There will be no absentee voting or early voting the day before election on Monday, if you do not do early voting you will vote at your precinct on Tuesday," said  Superintendent of Elections Judge Vickie Burnette.

If approved the 1 cent sales tax would continue in Thomas County for the next five years, and could raise up to $48 million.

SPLOST isn't the only item on the agenda for the special election. Meigs residents will also vote on who will fill two vacant city council seats, and also choose a new mayor.

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