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Saying she had something she had to get off her chest Tuesday night, Grady County Commission Chairwoman LaFaye Copeland spoke out on issues regarding the upcoming Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum.
“Something has been bothering me a lot since our last meeting,” Copeland said.
She said, “people interpret things differently,” but she was troubled by accusations that the county commission was threatening the public into voting for SPLOST or else the county would increase property taxes.
“It is not a threat,” the commission chair said, and she questioned why citizens would not vote in favor of the sales tax, which she described as the fairest tax there is.
Commissioner Phillip Drew concurred and commented, “It’s no threat. The facts are on the table, as (County Administrator J.C.) Buddy (Johnson III) has stated previously, we’ve got to be able to pay bills. We have obligations to pay and this is the fairest tax out there to do it with.”
Drew noted that anyone who stops in Grady County to buy fuel, eat a meal or shop would be helping pay the sales tax.
Drew said otherwise the full burden falls on the landowners.
“It’s not a threat, it’s just a fact,” Copeland echoed Drew’s comments.
The commission chair said another concern she has is that the Nov. 5 SPLOST referendum is being held the same day as the Cairo municipal general election.
Copeland noted that a large number of residents of the city of Cairo would have to go to two different polling places on the day of the election in order to vote in the city and county elections.
In addition to three city council seats that are up for election in the city, city voters will also be voting on Sunday alcohol sales by the drink and package. The only question for voters countywide is on the SPLOST.
“It’s going to be an interesting election,” Copeland said and she added that she is fearful that some voters who are residents of Cairo, if they wait to vote on election day, will not take the time to go to two polling places to vote in both the city and county elections.
“The best thing to do is to early vote. If you vote early you can vote in both at the same place,” Copeland reminded local voters.
The advance voting for both the countywide SPLOST referendum and the Cairo municipal general election will be conducted at the Board of Registrars office, located at 24 Third Ave. N.E., just behind the courthouse.
City residents will have to cast ballots on two different machines during the advance voting in order to cast ballots in both elections, but they can do so at one place, unlike on election day.
Copeland encouraged city residents to eliminate the possibility of two trips and to vote early.
Both Commissioner Ray Prince and County Administrator Johnson were absent Tuesday night. County Clerk John White sat in for the administrator.
In other business Tuesday night, the board:
Approved payment of the county’s annual $10,000 appropriation for the Archway Partnership, in accordance with the 2019-2020 Archway memorandum of understanding.
Appointed Chair LaFaye Copeland as the county’s voting delegate at the 2019 Legislative Leadership Conference.
Authorized payment of $4,500 to the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission for support and maintenance of the Geographic Information System tax parcel date for the Grady County Board of Tax Assessors.
Authorized a 60-month lease with Rumbles of Thomasville for
two copiers and seven new computers at a rate of $480.60 per month. The two copiers are for the Board of Registrars Office and the Sheriff’s Office and the seven new computers also go to the sheriff. According to County Clerk White, this new lease brings the county within just a few computers of all county computers being Windows compliant by 2020.