The first votes at the four ‘new’ voting precincts in Upson County will take place November 3 in the Municipal General and Special Elections. County and Yatesville voters will cast their ballots on a renewal of the current 1 cent SPLOST, while Thomaston voters will vote on SPLOST and will also cast ballots for a new mayor and, depending on which district they live in, possible new council members.
The Upson County Board of Elections voted in July to reduce the number of precincts from nine down to four. The move could potentially save the county $16,000 to $20,000 per election in major election years.
The new voting precincts are as follows:
• Atwater, Reeves, Redbone and The Rock will now be combined into the Redbone precinct and will vote at New Hope Baptist Church, located at 1165 Hannah’s Mill Road in Thomaston.
• The Salem precinct will stay the same and voting will take place at Salem Baptist Church, located at 1349 Highway 80 in the Salem community.
• The Town and Lincoln Park precincts will combine to form the Town precinct and will vote at the Civic Center, located at 101 Civic Center Drive in Thomaston.
• Yatesville and The Jug precincts will combine into the Yatesville precinct and will vote at the Yatesville Community Center located at 10 Empire Street in Yatesville.
The only issue on the Nov. 3 ballot for voters in the unincorporated portion of the county and the City of Yatesville will be the 2016 Upson County SPLOST Referendum. If approved, the current 1 cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) will continue for six more years and is projected to bring in $18 million, to be split between the county and the two municipalities. This SPLOST is separate from the educational SPLOST that voters approved earlier this year. The text of the SPLOST ballot reads:
Shall a special one percent sales and use tax be imposed in the special district of Upson County for a period of time not to exceed 24 consecutive calendar quarters and for the raising of an estimated amount of $18,000,000 for the purpose of funding the following capital outlay projects, to wit: COUNTY LEVEL III PROJECTS: Improvements and Site Prep at (2) IDA Business Parks; Improvements to Airport, Archives, EMA E-911 and Joint Project Buildings; Improvements to Recreation, Civic Center Facilities and Senior Center. COUNTY PROJECTS: Vehicle procurement and Replacement for Animal Control, Building & Zoning, Code Enforcement, Building Inspector, Extension Office, Public Buildings, Tax Assessor and Water Department; Improvements and Equipment for Clerk of Court, Coroner, Information Technology, Magistrate Court, Probate Court, Public Buildings, Tax Assessor and Registrar; Improvement and/or equipment for Sprewell Bluff Park and County Parks; Equipment for the Road Department Shop and Road Department; Improvements to County Roads and Bridges; Vehicles and equipment for Sheriff’s Department and Jail; Improvements and equipment for Water Department; CITY Of THOMASTON PROJECTS: Demolition and preparation of site and construction of backwash tank for city water plant; City sanitary sewer or storm or creek line repairs, upgrades, or replacements. CITY OF YATESVILLE PROJECTS: Improvements and/or equipment for Yatesville Water System; Improvements and/or equipment for Buildings and/or Facilities.
City of Thomaston voters will also need to go the polls to vote on the countywide SPLOST issue, but while they’re there, they will also need to cast ballots on a new mayor and, depending on which city district they are in, two new council posts.
Current Mayor Hays Arnold has declined to run, so the first new mayor in 12 years will be elected on Nov. 3. Qualifying to run for mayor are Rev. Coleman Dumas III, and former City Councilman J. D. Stallings.
City voters in District 1 will be deciding between two candidates for the post. Incumbent Gary Atwater is being challenged by LaKeitha Reeves.
City voters in District 2 will have three candidates to choose from for that post. Incumbent Patsy Perdue is facing a challenge from Jeff Middlebrooks.
City voters in District 3 will see a single name on the special election ballot for their council seat. Stallings resigned the post to run for mayor, and Ryan Tucker was the only person to qualify for the post. According to state law, due to there being other contested races on the city ballots, the special election to fill the District 3 post had to be on the ballot. Tucker needs just 1 vote to win the seat.
The City of Yatesville will not hold city elections this year, since there were only three positions up for election and there were only three candidates to qualify. Jim Maddox will be the new Mayor of Yatesville, as current Mayor Cecil Moncrief declined to run. Shane Moore will begin his first full term as a council member, and Chris Mullin will join the council as current council member Phyl Gatlin declined to run. However, Yatesville residents will still need to go to the polls to vote on the countywide SPLOST issue.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.