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SPLOST, ELOST packages win by wide margin

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SPLOST

Rome and Floyd County voters overwhelmingly supported both the SPLOST and ELOST packages in Tuesday’s election, where 22.51 percent of the county’s 48,691 voters turned out to cast ballots.

The proposals passed in both the city and in the unincorporated area.

“This may be historic,” said County Commission Chair Rhonda Wallace.

The $63.8 million special purpose, local option sales tax package contains 25 projects, including major repairs to Cave Spring’s failing sewer system. An $8 million agricultural center was positioned as a cornerstone of the SPLOST package — along with trails and an expansion of the ECO River Education Center — but there’s also funding for roads, heavy equipment, public safety needs and facility improvements.

“The community came together,” Wallace said. “Everybody wanted quality of life and everybody supported law enforcement. The people on the (SPLOST Citizens Advisory Committee) worked so hard to put together the right package. We’re not going backward, we’re going forward.”

The SPLOST netted support from 60.73 percent of the voters, passing 6,599 to 4,269. It won in 20 of the 25 precincts — failing only in Armuchee, Floyd Springs, Fosters Mill, Howell and Watters.

The $80 million education local option sales tax passed in all precincts, 7,613 to 3,240, equal to 70.15 percent of the vote.

More than 66 percent of the voters in the unincorporated area supported the ELOST and 75.34 percent voted yes in Rome.

“All of us thought it would pass, but not by that much,” said County School Board Chair Chip Hood. “To me, that means the voters really like the things that are going on and they want the best for the children of Floyd County.”

The ELOST package contains allocations for both the county and Rome City school systems.

Up to $48.8 million is earmarked for the county system and will go primarily toward modernizing Armuchee High and building a new Pepperell Middle school.

Rome City Schools will get up to $31.2 million for a new Main Elementary. They’ll also restructure North Heights Elementary into a sixth-grade academy and build a multipurpose facility at Rome High with athletic facilities and a college and career academy.

Both systems have a second tier of smaller projects that would be done if funding holds out. Funding from the state will be available to supplement ELOST spending.

Collections for the 5-year SPLOST and ELOST will start April 1, 2019, the day after the current levies expire.