Last-Minute SPLOST Pitch - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/13/03

Last-Minute SPLOST Pitch

Do you want to keep spending an extra penny sales tax? You'll have your say at the polls next Tuesday. The special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) is on the ballot. From the west side to downtown Savannah, it's been meeting after meeting as city and county officials make a push for a yes vote.

"The secret to this is to get the people who are for this to go out and vote on Tuesday," said Billy Hair, chairman of the Chatham County Commission. "Because those who are opposed will definitely go out."

The writing's on the wall, as billboards have gone up all over town asking people to extend the penny sales tax, and stating if you vote no, property taxes will go up.

"I think some people think it's a scare tactic, but I don't think it's a scare tactic," said Hair. "The truth of the matter is if we don't have $250 million and if we don't have a source, we will have to use property taxes."

The chamber of commerce and other people who support the tax hope this campaign works, because in 1997 only 18 percent of voters cast a ballot. The highest turnout for this election was 37 percent in 1993.This year, the board of elections is working overtime through the St. Patrick's Day holiday to make sure everything is in place.

"It's just one issue, it's the wording of the referendum and the voter will vote yes or no," said Hair.

It's a quick, easy vote that will determine the direction of city and county projects for the next five years. The polls will be open from 7am to 7pm on March 18.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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