As part of the July 20 election, local voters are being asked to approve a new education special purpose local option sales tax (E-SPLOST) which would go into effect when the current one expires.
If passed, the new E-SPLOST would extend the current one percent E-SPLOST for an additional five years or until $54 million has been collected, whichever comes first. The new E-SPLOST would go into effect upon the expiration of the current E-SPLOST in September of 2011.
If the E-SPLOST does not pass, school officials have warned that property taxes may have to increase by as much as 6 mills to service the school system’s debt.
School officials say the E-SPLOST extension is needed to restructure existing debt and pay for new facilities. If the debt service is not paid for with sales tax revenue, then property taxes would be increased to meet the debt service requirements.
According to a notice posted on the Barrow County Schools’ website, “ at an anticipated 5.5 mills, $200,000 of taxable, fair market value, property would result in an additional $440 of annual bond debt service levy ($200,000FMV @40%= 80,000AV times 0.0055). Both property owners and those who rent pay ad valorem taxes either directly or indirectly as an imbedded component of rent.”
The debt in question includes bonds issued to finance construction and renovation projects at Winder-Barrow HS, Apalachee HS, Auburn ES, Holsenbeck ES, Statham ES and other facilities.
Once this debt is paid, school officials hope to use remaining funds to finance projects including classroom construction, facility improvements, technology purchases, new school buses and land acquisition.
For more information, visit http://www.barrow.k12.ga.us/html/esplost_iv.html.