Voters Approve SPLOST VI, Elect Three New Mayors

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Tuesday, November 8-Voters from across Butts County approved the passage of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VI (SPLOST 6) which continues the 1 penny sales tax for an additional six-year term after the expiration of the current SPLOST 5. The centerpiece of the SPLOST 6 plan was a proposal to pay off existing debt incurred in previous administrations, including the 1996 jail construction and the 2008 addition to the jail, as well as an obligation on land owned by the Industrial Development Authority. By eliminating this debt early, the County would not have to budget money in the upcoming FY2013 budget to make the note payments, which are roughly the equivalent of 2.25 mils of tax. When added to the most recent millage decrease in August, property owners could see as much as a 2.5 mil decrease compared to this time last year.

Much of SPLOST revenue comes from fuel sales at Interstate 75, which allows travellers through Butts County to contribute a significant amount of revenue to voter-approved SPLOST projects. These projects that can be funded by SPLOST are paid for there rather than from property taxes.

SPLOST results for Butts County:

1298 Yes
781 No

In other election news, all three municipalities within Butts County will have a new Mayor in office. In Jackson, long-time City Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Wayne Phillips was elected to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Charlie Brown who stepped down in recent months due to health issues. Phillips faced opposition from Ricky P-Nut Johnson in the citywide election. In Flovilla, Mayor Harvey Norris faced opposition from former Flovilla City Councilman Scott Chewning, who was declared the winner in the election. In Jenkinsburg, Mayor Ken Rooks decided not to seek another term as Mayor and qualified for the City Council seat currently held by Councilman David Nestor. Nestor qualified for the office of Mayor and neither faced opposition so no election was needed.

Flovilla had two seats open on the City Council and runs at large. The two highest vote recipients were Willie Morgan and Glorine Thurman, both of whom have previously served on the Council. Jackson had one City Council seat open for election. Mitch McEwen and Wayne Phillips qualified for the seat but Phillips withdrew his candidacy to run for the Mayor’s seat; McEwen was unopposed for the election. McEwen was appointed this past week to serve the remainder of Phillips city council term which was vacated when Phillips qualified to run for Mayor. Phillips will be sworn in immediately as Mayor of Jackson; Chewning and Nestor will take their new offices on January 1st of 2012, as well as Morgan and Thurman in Flovilla.

Election Results for Municipalities

Flovilla Mayor
65 Norris
82 Chewning

City Council (Two Seats Open)
Willie Morgan 92
Glorine Thurman 84
Both will go on council as Flovilla elects at-large

Jackson Mayor
137 Johnson
476 Phillips

Jackson City Council
Mitch McEwen (Unopposed)

Finally, all cities had various alcohol sales-related referendums on the ballot for voters to approve or disapprove. The City of Flovilla and Jenkinsburg posed the question as to whether Sunday sales of alcohol would be allowed; Jackson had this question as well as whether sales of alcohol by the drink (such as in restaurants) would be allowed on Sunday. Jackson and Jenkinsburg passed all measures; Flovilla defeated the measure. The results are as follows:

Flovilla (Sale of alcohol on Sunday)
72 Yes
73 No
Measure defeated.

Jackson (Sale of alcohol on Sunday by package sales)
353 Yes
245 No
Measure passed

Jackson (Sale of alcohol on Sunday by the drink)
359 Yes
239 No
Measure passed

Jenkinsburg (Sale of alcohol on Sunday)
17 Yes
15 No
Measure passed