Turnout in last week's sales tax vote in McDuffie County, topped projections and put millions of dollars into school board coffers.
McDuffie County Election Superintendent Tiffany Neal said she was surprised at the 9 percent voter turnout. Of the county's 12,277 registered voters, 1,148 cast a ballot in the special election, which was scheduled just one week after the run-off election.
"I had predicted five or six percent because we had a runoff last week, and here we are having an election a week later, so I didn't think many would come out," she said. "I didn't think they'd be that interested."
Of the 1,148 ballots cast in the special election, there were 1,026 yes votes and 118 no votes, Neal said.
Eighty-nine percent of McDuffie County voters voted Tuesday in favor of continuing a 1-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. The penny tax is expected to raise about $16 million to fund improvements for McDuffie County Schools.
"We were just extremely pleased," McDuffie County School Superintendent Ed Grisham said. "We're just excited about the possibility of continued facility improvements for our students. I think all precincts it was just overwhelming support for it so we couldn't be more pleased."
Voters approved the first SPLOST in 1999 for a period of three years. The current campaign, which will expire Dec. 31, is projected to raise $8.9 million for school improvements. The new campaign voters approved Tuesday will extend the tax for five years.
Nearly half of the new SPLOST money is budgeted for the construction of a new middle school, proposed for 38 acres on Whiteoak Road, across from Thomson High School. Construction is expected to begin in 2005.
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