Voters Show Up for Key Issues: Sunday Package Sales, SPLOST
More than 10.5 percent of Bartow's nearly 50,000 registered voters and more than 21 percent of Cartersville's cast ballots Tuesday.
While only two Cartersville school board seats were contested, along with a handful of other nearby municipal posts, election officials Tuesday saw more voters than expected.
More than 10.5 percent of registered voters in Bartow turned out to say yes or no to a 2014 extension of the one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, a huge chunk of which is set to help bail Bartow out of a industrial park with no tenants.
The measure passed with about 61 percent of the votes, but some say its "six in one hand, half dozen in the other."
"The taxes will be paid, either by everyone (sales tax) or property owners. Everyone who lives in this county and uses services in this county should have to pay their fair share, not just those who have invested in land in this county," Barry Brown said on our Facebook page. "I did not agree with all the 'projects' listed, but some have to be funded regardless if this passes or not...and this is not an additional tax from what we have now, it just continues the one-cent-per-dollar tax."
At least one opponent of the SPLOST extension says it's up to voters to put the reigns on county leaders and expenditures.
"And will continue forever as long as you vote for it," Billy Kelly said via Facebook. "Hold them accountable for the money they have. Make cuts and choices just like we do at home.
"How about a tax break? Well, you say it's just a penny. Pennies add up to nickels, nickels to dimes, dimes to quarters, quarters to dollars; when will it stop if you people keep voting for it?"
Dirk Whittemore also on our Facebook page said to use the voting booth as those reigns.
"I have gotten to the point of voting against any continuance of any taxes for any purpose. [More than] 60 percent of our income already goes out the window in taxes in one form or another to everywhere from here to Washington," he said. "As a longtime property owner, I am well aware of the extortion that goes on anytime a SPLOST comes up for a vote—'If you don't vote for this, we'll just go up on your property taxes.'
"There's a remedy for that too—the voting booth once again. Vote out those elected officials who make and follow through with those threats and send a clear message. Live within your means just like all of us have to. Just because costs increase or something is 'needed' doesn't mean coming to us with your hand out. John Q. Public doesn't have that luxury, so why is this concept so alien to government? The appetite for more money only grows."
The one cent you and I will continue to pay for a while, coupled with Sunday package sales referendums were the key issues that resulted in higher-than-expected voter turnout, Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk told The Daily Tribune News.
In Cartersville, where voters approved Sunday package sales by 59.5 percent, more than 21 percent of the approximate 9,300 registered voters took to the polls. Portions of those voters also decided to keep longtime school board chairman Linda Benton and welcome newcomer Travis Popham.
Sunday package sales—Cartersville voters already approved Sunday pouring—garnered some comments, too.
While Tim Holcombe said, "Just more drunks on Sunday now; ban it all, I say," fellow Cartersville Patch reader and Facebook friend Cheryl Maulden Guyton said, "Well at least maybe they will stay home instead of driving back from restaurants that way."
Sarah Marie Cantrell asked, "When does it start!!!"
The answer to that question is Dec. 2. The hours will be 12:30 and 11:30 p.m.