ESPLOST election, now through 15 March 2011

Update 7 Mar 2011: election date fixed in this post title and text.
Here’s how to announce public finances:
To be published on February 11, 18, and 25, 2010 and March 4 and 11, 2010.
That’s five times the Lowndes County Board of Elections is publishing the details of the ESPLOST one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes. This is significant money: not more than $165 million dollars over five years, $94,875,000 for Lowndes County schools, and $70,125,000 for Valdosta schools. There are only two main ways of raising money for public schools: sales taxes, or property taxes. The local school boards use both. This is the sales tax part.

Well, there is a third way. The Valdosta City School System also proposes to issue “general obligation debt” not to exceed $25 million.

The documents spell out in detail for each school district what these funds are to be used for, such as new schools, “addition, renovation, repair and improvement to existing school buildings and facilities”, technology, textbooks, band equipment, physical education equipment, etc. You know what you’ll be getting if you vote for ESPLOST.

If you don’t vote for ESPLOST, you’ll probably be getting a hefty local property tax hike.

But you know what you’re voting on, and you get to vote on it. This is quite a bit different from a certain other local governmental agency that issued $15 million in debt with no public vote, no public notice, and very little oversight.

The ESPLOST election day is March 15th, but early voting is already going on. I voted. If you live here, you can, too.

These documents were obtained from Deb Cox, Elections Supervisor, Lowndes County Board of Elections, 4 March 2011 by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.