On Tuesday, voters will go to the polls to decide whether to continue the Educational Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax, which helps to fund projects throughout the Liberty County School System.
Only three residents showed up for the ESPLOST informational session Thursday evening hosted by the LCSS and Liberty County Chamber of Commerce.
According to Assistant Superintendent Jason Rogers, Liberty County is under its third ESPLOST resolution. If the vote is approved, the sales tax will remain at the current rate of seven cents for another five years. If the vote is not approved, the tax will expire at the end of the current five years and taxpayers will pay one cent less.
“Thanks for coming out tonight. We really appreciate you taking your time to come and hear what ESPLOST is all about,” Rogers told the audience. “Again, ESPLOST is a one-percent sales tax that’s approved by the voters. It’s a unique tax in the fact that it is approved by the voters. It’s not just something that a public entity can impose upon its citizens. Not only do you actually approve the tax, but you actually approve what we can spend it on.”
In previous years, the tax has funded special projects including parking lot pavement improvements, major school renovations and roofing projects.
The Liberty County Pre-K Center also was built completely with ESPLOST funds.
Rogers said the direct benefits of the tax also include:
• Local supplement for educators
• Art/music/band/chorus and physical education in all schools
• School nurses on staff
• Graduation coaches
• Student support team coordinators
Residents Chuck and Barbara Vandeser attended Thursday’s meeting in hopes of becoming better informed before going to their polling place Tuesday. Both sat and listened to the presentation and did not have any questions once the slideshow was finished.
“We don’t talk politics in the house,” Chuck Vandeser said. “She just wanted to get more involved and know where our money is going to.”
Barbara Vandeser said that she always notices new buildings going up and old ones being torn down, but that the meetings provide an exact snapshot of how the taxpayers’ dollars are being spent.
“You see the construction all the time and you never know their plans,” she said. “It is nice to see the master planning (stages).”
Another informational meeting is planned for 5:15 p.m. Monday in the Midway City Hall.