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SPLOST vote Tuesday
LEAD ESPLOST photo
In this file photo from 2008, construction workers prepare an exterior wall to be faced with brick on one of the new wing extensions at Langston Chapel Middle School. The ESPLOST vote Tuesday will help fund construction of Portal High/Middle and three new elementary schools. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/Herald File
    Lack of understanding and awareness of an upcoming election held for voters to approve or vote down a proposed extension of a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for Bulloch County school construction could result in a low voter turnout, said Bulloch County Chief Probate Clerk Patricia Lanier Jones.
    In spite of advertisement and information published in the Statesboro Herald, many citizens are confused about the election, she said.
    Currently, there is a seven percent sales tax in Bulloch County, one penny of which goes to the Bulloch County Board of Education for school construction and facility equipment and furnishings. If voters approve the SPLOST Tuesday, March 17, the continuance of the SPLOST will become effective in 2014, she said.
    The SPLOST referendum is not an increase in taxes, Jones said. It is a continuance of the one-cent portion of the current seven-cent sales tax.
    Many do not understand, and mistakenly think the vote is to increase the tax, she said.
    The continuance, if approved by voters, will not exceed five years and will provide funds to build new facilities for Julia P. Bryant, Sallie Zetterower, and Mattie Lively Elementary Schools, said Bulloch County Assistant School Superintendent Charles Wilson.
    SPLOST funds will also fund classroom additions for Langston Chapel, Mill Creek, Portal elementary schools and William James Middle School, he said.
    The SPLOST will also fund a new gymnasium, athletic facilities, and other improvements for Portal Middle/High School, he said. Other improvements and upgrades of school facilities throughout the county would benefit from the SPLOST continuance as well, he said.
    Voters have had the opportunity to vote early on this issue, but that option has shown slow results as well, Jones said.
    As of Friday afternoon, 66 voters visited the Bulloch County Courthouse to vote on touch-screen ballots while only 11 mail-in ballots had been received, she said.
    Jones said she hoped citizens would become better informed regarding the SPLOST election and cast votes Tuesday.
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414. 
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