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Advance voting underway; Schools urge passing of ESPLOST

Advance voting began Monday for the Nov. 2 special election in Bryan County.. The only local item on the ballot is a referendum on whether to continue the 1 cent ESPLOST, or Education Local Option Sales Tax.

 Hours for advance voting are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Bryan County Courthouse in Pembroke or the Richmond Hill Recreation Department on Timber Trail in Richmond Hill. 

Voters can also vote on Saturday, Oct. 16, or Oct. 23. Advance voting ends at 5 p.m. Oct 29.  There is no Sunday voting. 

Last week, Bryan County Schools sent out an email to parents and staff members regarding the ESPLOST. 

It is in included below: 

  Dear Parents, 

  According to recent data released by the United States Census, Bryan County is the fastest growing county in GA and sixth-fastest growing in the U.S. With the increased growth in the county, Bryan County Schools has experienced annual student growth ranging from 3-7% in the last 10 years. Growth of this size requires new schools and renovations and/or replacements of existing buildings due to age and functionality. Also, this level of growth makes it extremely difficult to keep pace with the needs for new buses and technology as well. 

  On July 22, 2021, the Bryan County Board of Education authorized the school system to go to the voters on Novembers 2, 2021 asking them to renew ESPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education). This is not a new tax; the purpose of this election is to ask the citizens of Bryan County to renew the current ESPLOST tax that is already in place. In addition to ESPLOST, the Board of Education is asking the citizens of Bryan County to authorize the sale of short-term bonds to enable the district to continue with its five and ten year capital projects plans. 

  ESPLOST is a 1 penny consumption tax and not a property tax. This tax is charged on goods and services purchased in Bryan County, regardless of where the individual resides. Everyone who makes a purchase in Bryan County, including visitors, contributes to the support of local schools. The ESPLOST tax was approved by Bryan County citizens in 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017. If approved on November 2nd, it will be a continuation of the tax already in place and sales tax in Bryan County will remain 8%. By law, ESPLOST funds can only be used for certain educational expenses. (Example: new schools, renovations to facilities and property, technology, buses, make payments on bonds, etc.)  

  We are proud to say Bryan County Schools has not increased the M&O millage rate for property taxes in the last 13 years. However, without ESPLOST funds, the school district would have to consider other funding options to address the capital improvement needs and associated growth. 

  Please note, Bryan County government and city taxes/SPLOST/bond referendums are not related to the school system, each is a separate governmental entity. 

  Once again, the election will be held November 2, 2021, and we appreciate your continued support of Bryan County Schools. 

  For additional information on Bryan County Schools ESPLOST please visit: 


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