published Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Tuesday voters approve Whitfield education sales tax

Whitfield County’s special 1-percent education sales tax narrowly was approved by voters today.

With all county precincts in, the county election board reported 53.62 percent of votes favored the tax and 46.38 percent were against the measure. Election officials said the tallies do not include more than 2,200 ballots cast in early voting, which could change the outcome.

The education special purpose local option sales tax is estimated to provide $105 million in revenue to Whitfield County and Dalton city school systems. The funds can be used for capital projects such as new construction or technology purchases.

“We knew it was going to be tight. We knew this was a sensitive subject with times the way they are,” Whitfield County school board Chairman Louis Fordham said. “At this point we’re definitely appreciative of the votes to allow us to use the ESPLOST as a tool for our schools.”

Other Whitfield results show County Commission Chairman Mike Babb defeating Ronald Ownby, incumbent commissioner Greg Jones losing to Lynn Laughter and Sunday alcohol sales approved in Varnell.

All vote totals, which include federally mandated provisional ballots, are unofficial until certified by the Georgia secretary of state.

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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