On Tuesday, the voters of Columbia County have an opportunity to vote "yes" for the continuation of our Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or E-SPLOST. A "yes" vote will renew the 1-cent sales tax for another five-year period.
The continued growth of our county is placing constant demands on our board of education to provide additional schools and classrooms. I strongly believe quality schools are critical to the growth and development of any community. Our first-rate school system is one of the reasons families are moving to our county.
As we all know, everyone benefits from a strong educational system. Since 1997, the citizens of Columbia County have recognized the value of the penny sales tax revenue. On Tuesday, the voters will decide whether to continue the E-SPLOST or go back to the possible use of an increase of property taxes to fund capital improvements and debt reduction. A "yes" vote gives us the opportunity to provide new facilities for all students with no increase in local property taxes.
My uncle, John Pierce Blanchard, past school superintendent, was a strong believer in providing quality education in a quality atmosphere for the students of Columbia County. He spent his adult life making sure each child was provided the best education possible. The current leadership of the Board of Education exhibits the same goals and is continuing with that philosophy.
The education of our children should always be our highest priority. By voting "yes," we will make the commitment to continue to provide quality education in a quality environment. Please remember: This is not a new tax, but a continuation of the five-year E-SPLOST.
I encourage every citizen of Columbia County to exercise their right to vote and vote "yes" to E-SPLOST on Tuesday.
(Rick Crawford is chairman of the Committee for Columbia County Schools.)
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