Fifty-four percent of voters approved the 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax and 46 percent voted against it. There were 11,643 “yes” votes and 9,743 “no” votes. There are 133,760 voters in Cherokee County.
Voters approved the five-year continuation of the education SPLOST, from 2012 through 2017. The referendum was a packaged question that also asked residents whether the school system can issue up to $138 million in bonds to help pay for proposed projects.
Projects slated to be funded include a replacement Teasley Middle School; a Dean Rusk Middle School replacement facility; a new softball field and field house for Cherokee High School; new school buses; sewer lines for schools on the Hickory Flat campus; parent entrances for Boston, Carmel and Holly Springs elementary schools; $40 million in technology upgrades and training; and miscellaneous renovations and replacements.
Donnie Henriques, Mayor of Woodstock and chairman of Renewing the SPLOST for Cherokee’s Children, said he was very happy with the result.
“Voters made the right move,” Henriques said. “Taxpayers will see the benefit in the long run.”
He also commended committee members for all of their hard work, crediting their effort for the SPLOST passing.
“They helped get the word out through their PTAs, sending out emails and spreading the word that this is the logical way to pay for this,” he said.
David Cosby, an opponent of the SPLOST and a Canton TEA Party Patriots member, believes that the results show more people disapprove of school board spending.
“I think, based on percentages, these numbers say the school board has been put on notice,” Cosby said. “This is perhaps the school board’s last chance to use these monies to pay down a large portion of the debt.”
Cosby said that he believes the tax passed due to a lack of organization amongst anti-SPLOST voters.
“The TEA Party has learned a tough lesson — it’s all about organization,” he said, adding that his group is becoming more organized for future referendums and issues they feel strongly about.