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Less than 50 locals have voted as of Tuesday in the special election scheduled for Tuesday, March 19.
Grady County voters are being asked to approve or reject a one percent Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST). Voters in Grady County District 5 will also be voting on a new county commissioner to replace the late T.D. David, who was forced to resign late last year due to declining health.
Advance, in person voting began Monday, Feb. 25 and runs until Friday, March 15. The hours for early voting are 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily. There will not be any Saturday voting for the special election.
To cast early votes, visit the Board of Registrars Office, 24 Third Ave. N.E. On election day, March 19, all 13 of the county’s polling places will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Phillip E. Drew, 54, and Jesse Ryan Schober, 28, are vying for the District 5 post vacated by David. The late commissioner was the sole candidate to qualify last year and was elected automatically to another four-year term, which will expire Dec. 31, 2022. The winner of the March 19 special election will serve out the remainder of David’s term.
Should the county’s registered voters approve the renewal of the one percent sales tax on March 19, a number of extensive projects is on the drawing board. The tax is projected to generate $14 million over five years to benefit local schools.
Between $4 and $5 million is expected to be spent for improvements to Eastside Elementary School including construction of a new cafeteria and kitchen as well as new administrative offices, classrooms and media center.
The local system is eligible for approximately $3 million in state funds for the project and the remainder would be from the new sales tax, if approved by the voters.
“Very little has been changed in this building since it was moved to Cairo,” Dr. Gilliard said. The main building at Eastside was originally constructed in 1956 as Beckbranch School in Calvary and was moved to the current site in 1984/1985.
In addition to other projects at all of the county’s schools, athletic facility needs are also being contemplated and could be financed with ESPLOST funding.
If necessary, the sales tax could also be used for new technology and the purchase of school buses.