County residents who aren't registered to vote and want their voice to be heard on a proposed school board sales tax question in March have one more day to get registered.
The new elementary school under construction on Mullikin Road in Evans was funded by school board special purpose local option sales tax funds. Monday is the last day to register to vote in the next school board special purpose sales tax election, to be held March 15.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Tomorrow will be the final day of registration for the upcoming March 15 special election, in which voters will decide whether a proposed 1-cent sales tax for the Columbia County school board should be adopted to help produce a debt-free school system by 2012. A proposal to obtain bonds for as much as $30 million also will be part of the referendum that goes before voters. That amount would be used on capital improvements, including the building of three middle schools, two elementary schools and a high school.
Debbie Marshall, Columbia County's Board of Elections executive director, said her office will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and that those wanting to register must fill out a voter registration form and be 18 years old by the time of the vote.
Marshall said absentee voting on the ballot question began Wednesday and will be allowed up until 5 p.m. March 14.
She said she predicts an average turnout for the special election.
"I'm looking for at least about a 10 percent turnout (of registered voters)," she said.
An advance voting week also will be offered for the election from March 7-11.
By having a debt free school system, the board of education could then use any further special purpose local option sales tax funds directly for capital improvements, such as new school construction. The special purpose sales tax being voted on March 15 would last from 2007 to 2012.
When the county's school board decided to have the special election on March 15, some county commissioners wondered why the question couldn't have been included in a general election or along with other county questions in a future election, thereby saving money. The county commission is currently considering a referendum sometime this year on whether a sports and entertainment arena should be built in the county.
School officials said their March 15 special election date was chosen because a bond referendum was delayed and school board members wanted the bond and sales tax to be on the same ballot.
Marshall said it's now too late for the county to include a question about an arena on the March 15 ballot. However, she said the county could still do so on three remaining dates allotted for special elections: June 21, Sept. 20 or Nov. 8.
For the June 21 date, Marshall said, the county would have to have something to her by the end of March or the first of April.
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