Lowndes County voters defeated SPLOST VII 18,864 to 17,923 (51.28% to 48.72%).
Kay Harris in the VDT today quoted Ashley Paulk with this reason:
The defeat came as a surprise to Mayor John Gayle but not to Lowndes
County Commission Chairman Ashley Paulk, who said he warned the
mayors of the five municipalities that if they continued to argue
LOST, the local option sales tax, that voters would turn
against SPLOST in retaliation.
“I told them at the beginning if they didn’t stop arguing over
a few percent of the LOST and refused to leave the numbers as is by
taking the county’s offer, that taxpayers were going to turn against
the SPLOST,” said Paulk.
“Voters are disenchanted with the way their local governments
have gotten greedy and they’re tired of the arguments over money.
They voted SPLOST down because they don’t trust us with their tax
dollars, and it’s a real shame.”
I would agree
bickering over the
LOST pie was one of the reasons
SPLOST lost, and add to that the opaque back-room processes by which
the SPLOST VII projects were selected.
While the library needs updated and expanded facilities,
the lack of documented decision process
for the architect
and lack of adequate explanation for that
probably didn’t help, either,
the county’s puzzling lumping of the library in with Parks and Rec.
which they later tried to clarify.
Perhaps the voters are
tired of seeing transparency be a constant source of tension.
And I’m using the library as just one example. I could equally cite the
project for a farmers market under the overpass, which I think is a bad idea
because the farmers market already has a fabulous location at the historic
Lowndes County Courthouse, and so far as I know none of the vendors who sell there
were even asked if they wanted a new location, much less the public who buy there.
At the public-not-invited
SPLOST VII kickoff speeches
the last speaker said they were not there