Referendum Passes

Here’s what we voted on:


“Shall a one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes of the Columbia County School District (the “School District”) be reimposed within Columbia County for a maximum period of time of 20 calendar quarters, for the purposes of providing funds to pay (1) the cost of acquiring, constructing, and equipping one new elementary school and one new middle school, adding and equipping new classrooms at existing high schools, acquiring land for future schools, adding to, renovating, repairing, improving, and equipping existing school buildings and other buildings and facilities useful or desirable in connection therewith, and acquiring any necessary property therefor, both real and personal, (2) the cost of acquiring instructional and administrative technology improvements for existing schools and acquiring school buses, the maximum cost of the projects described in clauses (1) and (2) above to be $42,067,795, and (3) the cost of retiring a portion of the School District’s General Obligation Bonds, dated September 1, 1976, General Obligation Refunding Bonds, dated December 1,1992, General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 1993, General Obligation Refunding Bonds Series 1994, General Obligation Bonds, Series 1994-A, and General Obligation School Refunding Bonds, Series 1998, by paying or making provision for the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonds coming due on April 1, 2003 through October 1, 2007, in the maximum amount of $27,932,205?”

“If reimposition of the tax is approved by the voters, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of the Columbia County School District in the principle amount of $16,000,000 for the purpose set forth in clause (1) of the above question, to pay capitalized interest incident thereto, and to pay expenses incident to accomplishing the foregoing.”

Final Tally: YES 4841, NO 626

Taken from the Columbia County Website

“So?” you’re probably asking. “What’s the big deal?” Well, for one, it is a good thing that the referendum passed. Columbia County has long been touted as having one of the best school systems in Georgia, and the money the one-cent sales tax generates will definitely be of great benefit to the county and to its schools. It is also a good thing that it passed so overwhelmingly with 4841 voters for the measure and only 626 against. But, when you consider that the number of voters only accounted for roughly 9% of the county’s registered voters, the figure is pitiful. Reports have indicated that the only people who really voted for the measure were primarily teachers and parents with school-aged children.

The county advertised the measure pitifully. Sparse sign placement, random radio announcements and an editorial in the Augusta Chronicle were all that made mention of the measure. It’s no wonder hardly anyone voted. No one knew about it! If they wanted people to participate, they should have advertised the measure better!

I, for one, did vote. I was among the 5,467 voters who did make it out to the polls. Voting is important, regardless of the issue. Why? Because these kinds of things affect the whole county. A one-cent sales tax raises prices, albeit rather insignificantly, but it can possibly make a difference for some people. It’s important to get out there and vote. That’s the whole point of democracy. People that don’t vote shouldn’t bitch, because they didn’t join the few that DID decide.