Turnout was just 20 percent, but Bulloch County voters who participated in Tuesday’s party primaries and nonpartisan general election helped decide some things.
The proposal by the county government and the cities of Statesboro, Brooklet, Portal and Register for a T-SPLOST, or sales tax for transportation, was approved by 58.7 percent of voters. While 4,394 voted “yes,” 3,089 voted “no.”
“I’m very thankful to the citizens of Bulloch County for supporting it, and it’s going to benefit our county greatly,” said Bulloch County Board of Commissioners Chairman Roy Thompson. “We’re just behind in road paving and resurfacing and bridges, you know. The Akins Pond Road bridge is a great example of that.”
The T-SPLOST revenue, which must be used for transportation, should free up other revenue sources, such as the existing Special Purpose Location Option Sales Tax, for other kinds of projects, he said. The T-SPLOST is an added 1 percent sales tax and not a continuation, so total sales taxes on nonexempt items here will rise to 8 cents on the dollar when the tax takes effect in October.
Also on the county nonpartisan ballot, in Board of Education District 4, April Newkirk received 865 votes, or 60.3 percent of the total, to 567 votes for Adrianne McCollar. So Newkirk will succeed incumbent BOE member Steve Hein, whose term ends Dec. 31 after he did not seek re-election.
In BOE District 5, incumbent board member Glennera Martin won a second four-year term, capturing 222 votes, or 54 percent of the total, to challenger Mary A. Felton’s 187 votes.
City Council runoff
Meanwhile, Statesboro’s special city election for a new District 5 City Council member goes to a runoff July 24 between Derek Duke, who captured 49.1 percent of the district’s votes, and Don Armel, who polled 29.6 percent of the total. Konrad Godfrey will not advance to the runoff after receiving 21.3 percent. The actual count was 106 votes for Duke, 64 for Armel and 46 for Godfrey, so Duke was five votes short of the 50 percent-plus needed to win outright.
If there had been a winner Tuesday, the new council member could have been sworn in at the June 5 meeting. Now, the District 5 seat on council will remain vacant until after the July 24 runoff.
The winner fills the vacancy created by the March resignation of then-council member Travis Chance, who is now in a race for a Bulloch County Board of Commissioners seat that is also going to a runoff.
Bulloch County came into this election with 38,640 active, registered voters on the rolls, and after 16 days of early voting, plus Tuesday’s 12 hours of precinct voting, 7,725 ballots had been cast countywide. That amounts to 19.99 percent voter participation.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.