Elvis famously sang, "I spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E."
For County County's bond referendum that would build a pool and tennis complex, "trouble" might be spelled "survey."
This past week, the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee quizzed chamber members about the county's referendums for the special purpose local option sales tax and an aquatics center bond.
Historically, the chamber has been the tool used to promote passage of sales-tax and bond referendums. Taxpayer money can't legally be used to urge such passage, so chambers of commerce often step in to play cheerleader.
The chamber can only promote what its members want, however. And last week's survey says chamber members don't want a pool and tennis complex.
About a third of the chamber members answered the two questions in a Web-based survey. The vote was taken quickly, so there was no time for either side to campaign for or against it - and little reason to doubt the outcome.
An overwhelming 83 percent answered "yes" to the question, "Do you support renewal of the SPLOST?" But just 36 percent said "yes" to the question, "Do you support the bond referendum for the aquatics and tennis center?"
Chambers of commerce typically provide a strong base of support for government initiatives. So when chamber members turn up their noses at the aquatic center, that's a bad sign for the referendum's passage in the real vote - because average voters are likely to be even less friendly.
What it also means, though, is that pool-paddlers can't count on the chamber to promote passage for them. They'll have to keep it afloat themselves if they want to convince voters to support raising property taxes to pay for the pool and tennis complex.
The chamber's board is expected to meet this week to take a position on whether to support these votes. If they follow the guidance of their members as expressed in this survey, that spells trouble for the county's swim fans.
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