The Polk County Board of Elections is getting ready for another round of voting this fall, and will soon be taking in the applications for those who are seeking office on municipal ballots in November.
Qualifying for seats in Aragon, Cedartown and Rockmart begins on Aug. 21 and continues through until Aug. 25 for the Nov. 7 vote, in which a variety of seats are open this year in Polk County's three cities.
Aragon voters will get to decide whether they will keep two council members who came onto the board in recent months. Hunter Spinks, who joined the council last year, will be up again for election along with the most recent addition Kelsey Collum, who was unopposed in his taking over the remaining time of former council member Duel Mitchell.
Voters in Aragon will also have to decide who will fill the seat left open by council member Tammy Mulkey, who resigned in May prior to her moving away from the city due to financial issues.
Qualifying fees for the three positions are $36.
Meanwhile, Cedartown voters will get to decide on three commissioners of their own.
Cedartown's three seats open are currently filled by Commission chair Jordan Hubbard, commissioner Matt Foster and commissioner Larry Odom. Qualifying fees for the three seats are $54 each.
Fees are also set at $108 for the Rockmart City Council. A trio of council members are also up for vote in positions currently held by Lucille Harris, Joe Henderson and Sherman Ross.
Elections Director Karen Garmon said she's also had no word yet from the Polk County Board of Education on whether they intend to have the previously proposed Education-only, Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax on the ballot for the November vote as well.
Previously, the SPLOST was proposed and approved for addition to the ballot in March, but when new members of the board took over their seats in January 2017, one of the first items that was voted down 4-3 was providing funding for that ballot measure and a request for a delay to the upcoming election.
Garmon said the Board of Education has until late August when she will need to order ballots for the upcoming election to decide whether a new SPLOST will be included for vote in November.
The proposed SPLOST would be used to continue building projects and upgrades around the district, with a good amount of the money being used to improve the classrooms used for the arts, band and theater programs at Cedartown High School, along with significant changes to the cafeteria, library, administration and the addition of classrooms.
Funds would also have gone to making improvements at other schools for athletics and community facilities, and to construct a brand new agriculture education building at Rockmart High School.
The current SPLOST approved by voters in 2014 is being used mainly to pay back bonds sold to fund now-finished construction projects in the district, and collections continue through 2021 to pay back interest and principal on the borrowed funds to start building work immediately. That included the new College and Career Academy facility at Cedartown High School, improvements to the CCA wing at Rockmart High School along with their new field house and gym entrance, and additional classrooms at Eastside Elementary.
Bond money also paid for a variety of technology and security upgrades at local schools.
Garmon said she believed it would better serve the Board of Education to wait to propose another E-SPLOST on the ballot until midterm elections in 2018, when interest in the vote will be more likely to gain better turnout to the polls.
Those interested in qualifying for local offices in the upcoming municipal elections should first contact their municipal government for specific requirements for residency and candidacy within each city's charter and municipal code before they apply in August.
Those with further questions or needing applications can contact the Board of Elections office at 770-749-2103.