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ESPLOST V Approved by Douglas County Voters

 

On March 1, 2016 Douglas County voters approved, by an overwhelming majority of 69.31%, to extend the ESPLOST (Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) to be in effect from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2021 or until the cap is reached.

 

"We are so very grateful for the thousands of citizens who took the time to learn about all the benefits ESPLOST (Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) provides for our students, teachers, and school district and then went to the polls and voted yes on March 1," said Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz. "That demonstration of strong, overwhelming support for education in the local community is so vital to making our community better and it is our children who are ultimately the winners." 

 

Significantly lowering bond debt is a priority of ESPLOST V with up to $73.4 M, 45% of net proceeds, designated for paying down existing bond debt. Reducing this debt through ESPLOST will save homeowners by allowing property bond millage rates to remain low. The current ESPLOST IV lowered the average bond millage rate by almost three mills. Passage of ESPLOST V means that the Bond Millage will remain low.

 

ESPLOST IV will expire on December 31, 2016. At that time it is estimated that $58.6 M will have been applied to bond debt reduction.

 

Up to $73.4 or 45% of net proceeds from ESPLOST V will help pay down existing bond debt.

 

 ESPLOST V funds will also be used to:

 

 * Address safety concerns

 

 * Continue to remove as many portable classrooms as possible

 

 * Make school facilities more equitable 

 

 * Build a freshman academy facility at Alexander High School

 

 * Build an addition to Chapel Hill Middle School for classrooms and office space 

 

 * Build an addition to Lithia Springs Elementary School for classrooms and expand the kitchen area

 

 * Renovate the Lithia Springs High School old gym area

 

 * Projects at all schools including improvement of school signage, paving, playground upgrades, awnings and other projects

 

No new schools will be built with ESPLOST V funds.

 

ESPLOST is a one cent sales tax that is eligible for renewal by voters every five years and has become a significant way for counties to fund education projects. Every school district in the state of Georgia is able to provide needed funding that is not covered by the M&O (Maintenance and Operations) budget through ESPLOSTs. Prior to the availability of ESPLOST funding, building of new schools as well as making renovations and additions to buildings were funded by Bond Issues and paid back over long terms through Bond millage rates.

 

One of the appeals of partially funding education needs with ESPLOST is the fact that it is a consumer tax, not a property tax. Every person who spends money in Douglas County contributes to the ESPLOST fund, including out of county and out of state shoppers who purchase from our stores, eat in our restaurants and buy gas in our county. Everyone who buys something in our county contributes, whether they own property or not, and whether they qualify for a school tax exemption or not. The bulk of the budget for the Board of Education is made up of property taxes and state funds. ESPLOST provides a way to raise additional needed money without raising property taxes or incurring any debt.

 

 

 

 

 

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