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SPLOST, governors race on Tuesdays ballot
Sales tax extension could generate $45.3M
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Statewide

• U.S. Senate: Michelle Nunn, D; David Perdue, R; Amanda Swafford, L

• Governor: Jason Carter, D; Nathan Deal, R (I); Andrew Hunt, L

• Lieutenant governor: Casey Cagle, R (I); Connie Stokes, D

• Secretary of State: Brian Kemp, R (I); Doreen Carter, D

• Attorney General: Sam Olens, R (I); Greg Hecht, D

• Commissioner of Agriculture: Gary Black, R (I); Chris Irvin, D

• Commissioner of Insurance: Ralph Hudgens, R (I); Liz Johnson, D; Ted Metz, L

• State School Superintendent: Richard Woods, R; Valarie Wilson, D

• Commissioner of Labor: Mark Butler, R (I); Robbin Shipp, D

• Public Service Commissioner: Doug Everett, R (I); John Monds, L

• Public Service Commissioner: Bubba McDonald, R (I); Daniel Blackman, D; Robin Aaron Gilmer, L


Northeast Georgia

• U.S. House of Representatives, 9th District: Doug Collins, R (I); David Vogel, D

 

Proponents for extending the county's 1-cent sales tax for six more years hope their campaign mail-outs, speaking engagements and social media presence to promote a "yes" vote resonates at the polls.

"As we have spent a great amount of time out in the community talking with residents and business owners about [special purpose local option sales tax], we are encouraged to hear how many people support it," said Christie Haynes, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce.

Projections show the tax extension could generate an estimated $45.3 million over six years.

Officials say an estimated 85 percent of the revenue collected from the 1-cent tax, known as SPLOST, comes from visitors shopping in Dawson.

"The fact that the SPLOST continuation on the ballot is not a new tax and that 85 percent of collections are paid by non-Dawson County residents really seems to resonate with our local voters," Haynes said. "We hope our residents will continue to turn out to vote and vote yes to continue SPLOST so that we can maintain and improve the quality of life we so value in Dawson County."

That translates to local residents paying just 15 cents for each dollar collected, according to Haynes.

"The revenue that our county and city receives from SPLOST allows our community to have better resources that we would not be able to afford without it," she said.

The anticipated $45.3 million would be split at a ratio of 85 percent to Dawson County, whose officials say roads are top priority, and 15 percent to the city of Dawsonville, where a park on Main Street is planned.

Dawsonville Councilman Chris Gaines hailed the proposed extension as "a great way for our county and city to fund important projects."

"We are in the unique situation that the majority of funding comes from people outside our community that spend money here, yet our citizens and businesses receive the benefit of the projects," he said. "All of these projects protect us better, provide for our future and further define the great quality of life in our city and county."

Mike Berg, chairman of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, said the county would be years closer to making the needed road repairs if the tax is extended.

"Roads are an expense that's difficult to pay for out of general fund money because it takes so much," he said.

With 277 miles of roads, including 71 which are gravel, the revenue is needed.

"Roads are probably the only asset which deteriorates at a more rapid rate than other things," he said. "You build a building and you expect it be able to be used for 40 years, where you might get seven to 10 years out of a good road."

The county's project list also includes park improvements and the purchase of public safety vehicles such as patrol cars and an ambulance, while city officials say collections could fund water and sewer improvements.

The current sales tax program, known as SPLOST V, was approved by voters in 2007. It started in 2009 and runs through May. If the Nov. 4 referendum passes, SPLOST VI would begin in June.

In the governor's race, recent polls suggest a tight race between incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and his Democratic opponent Jason Carter, as Libertarian Andrew Hunt could draw enough votes to force a runoff.

In Georgia, one candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote to prevent a December runoff.

Advance voting continues from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Friday at the board of elections office, 96 Academy Ave. near downtown Dawsonville.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. -7 p.m. on Election Day.

 

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