2015
11.03

LU Marquis Logo / VOTE TODAYToday is an election day in Walker County, with only one issue on the ballot county-wide: renewal of a 1% sales tax, the ESPLOST, for schools.

Essentially, it’s continuing an existing tax for school construction, property purchases, and repairs for the Walker and Chickamauga school systems.

Previously discussed projects to be funded include a new high school at Saddle Ridge, new buildings for Gordon Lee, and many athletic improvements that seem unnecessary.

From the sample ballot:

    1% Educational Sales and Use Tax
    (Vote for One)
    Shall a one percent sales and use tax be imposed in Walker County for a period of time not to exceed 20 calendar quarters and for the raising of not more than $32,500,000, (a) approximately $28,080,000 (86.4%) of which shall be received by the Walker County School District for the purposes of: (i) acquisition, construction, and equipping of auxiliary gymnasiums at LaFayette and Ridgeland High Schools; (ii) construction of new roofs for educational and central services buildings and/or facilities; (iii) acquisition and upgrading of technology and computers, text books, and e-books, including expansion of the technology plan to improve student-to-device ratio; (iv) acquisition and equipping of school buses; (v) paving and repairing of parking lots and driveways for educational and central services buildings and/or facilities; (vi) acquisition, construction, and equipping of a new high school; (vii) acquisition and equipping of safety and security equipment for educational and central services buildings and/or facilities, including a potential stop light at the entrance of Saddle Ridge Elementary and Middle School; (viii) construction, renovation, improvements, and equipping of the Career Technical & Agriculture Education (CTAE) labs at LaFayette and Ridgeland High Schools; (ix) acquisition, construction, and equipping of a multi-use athletic facility at Ridgeland High School; (x) acquisition, construction, and equipping of a football field at the LaFayette High School; (xi) renovations, additions, improvements, and equipping of existing educational buildings, properties, and facilities of the school district, including additions, improvements, constructing, and equipping central services facilities; (xii) acquisition of any property, both real and personal, and equipment necessary in connection with the above described capital outlay projects, including energy management systems, heating and air conditioning systems, lighting, and similar equipment; and (xiii) acquisition of real property for future schools, facilities, administrative offices, support services, and other purposes of the Walker County School District; and (b) approximately $4,420,000 (13.6%) of which shall be received by the Board of Education of the City of Chickamauga for the purposes of: (i) acquisition, construction, and equipping of new educational buildings and facilities; (ii) acquisition and installation of system-wide security and safety equipment; (iii) acquisition, installation, and upgrading of system-wide technology and equipment, including computers, text books, and e-books; (iv) renovations, improvements, and equipping of existing educational buildings, properties, and facilities; (v) acquisition of any property, both real and personal, and equipment necessary in connection with the above described capital outlay projects, including energy management systems, heating and air conditioning systems, lighting, and similar equipment; and (vi) acquisition of real property for future schools, facilities, administrative offices, support services, and other purposes of the City of Chickamauga School System?
    If imposition of the tax is approved by the voters, such vote shall also constitute approval of (i) the issuance of general obligation debt of the Walker County School District in the principal amount of $18,000,000 for the purpose of financing the costs of the capital outlay projects of the Walker County School District described above and (ii) the issuance of general obligation debt of the City of Chickamauga in the principal amount of $2,900,000 for the purpose of financing the costs of the capital outlay projects of the Chickamauga School System described above.
    YES/NO

Notice that the most specific projects are for sports, while the vague ones are more related to core education, and only a stop light for Saddle Ridge school is described as “potential” – meaning it’s probably included simply to get votes and isn’t likely to be done.

    WQCH Radio, 08/24/15: “SUPERINTENDENT DAMON RAINES SAID THE CURRENT PENNY SALES TAX FOR EDUCATION HAS ANOTHER YEAR TO RUN. AND IF APPROVED BY THE VOTERS, IT WOULD CONTINUE FOR ANOTHER FIVE YEARS, STARTING IN 2017.
    “THE TAX FOR CAPITAL PROJECTS WOULD BE SHARED BY THE WALKER COUNTY AND CHICKAMAUGA CITY SCHOOL SYSTEMS. RAINES SAID IT WOULD RAISE AN ESTIMATED 28-MILLION DOLLARS FOR WALKER COUNTY, AND SOMETHING OVER 4-MILLION FOR CHICKAMAUGA CITY SCHOOLS.
    “SUPERINTENDENT RAINES SAID PROJECTS FOR WALKER COUNTY COULD INCLUDE A THIRD HIGH SCHOOL, TO BE BUILT ON THE SADDLE RIDGE CAMPUS AT ROCK SPRING. OTHER IDEAS INCLUDE THE EXPANSION OF VOCATIONAL PROGRAMS AT LAFAYETTE AND RIDGELAND HIGH. THE SO-CALLED ‘CAREER PATHWAYS’ PROGRAMS MIGHT INCLUDE AGRICULTURE EDUCATION, OR ‘MECHATRONICS’, WHICH INCLUDES THE STUDY OF ROBOTICS FOR MANUFACTURING.
    “RAINES EMPHASIZED THAT THE VOTE, WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE ON NOVEMBER 3rd IN WALKER COUNTY, WILL NOT BE A NEW TAX BUT A CONTINUATION OF THE PENNY ‘E-SPLOST’ SALES TAX THAT IS ALREADY IN PLACE.”

They’re holding the vote two years before the tax expires so they can ask you to vote for it AGAIN next November if it’s defeated today. Not that a defeat is likely; We last voted for this in April 2011 and it won by an overwhelming majority because nobody’s willing to vote against anything described as being for children, even if the actual value of what it buys is somewhat mixed.

Polls will be open today until 7 PM.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Adriana Jordan Elmore

14-year-old girl missing from Buttercup Lane in Ringgold – on the Whitfield County side of Taylor’s Ridge.

Adriana Jordan Elmore, who family members say has Asperger Syndrome and struggles to communicate, may have went off on her own into the woods sometime between 11 Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Adriana Jordan Elmore

She was apparently spotted in Dalton early Monday morning and may be heading to Murray County.

She’s now been spotted in Cleveland, TN.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Closing now or next month, sold whole or in parts, debts paid or not – the bottom line (the LITERAL bottom line of this report) is that the only people benefitting from Hutcheson now are the lawyers fighting over it.

Hutcheson Chickamauga Family Practice

Last night Chickamauga’s council voted to purchase the closed Chickamauga Family Practice medical building from Hutcheson, for $350,000.

Chickamaga has tentative plans to lease the facility to Memorial Hospital.

Good news, because that means the county WON’T be buying it.   Tiny Facebook  Tiny Facebook

Lora Beth Chapman, 35, arrested for allegedly attempting to swipe cloth and air freshener from Walmart.

Makes about as much sense as the girl who stole a trailer hitch.

If you’re gonna go to jail for stealing, steal something worth the jail time. There’s gotta be a better value/weight/size ratio than a bolt of cloth or a trailer hitch or an air freshener.   Tiny Facebook

Last year Georgia law was changed, allowing school districts to train and arm certain school employees with permission to defend against armed attacks.

Sandy Hook School Shooting

So far not one single school district has opted to provide guns to school staff and it doesn’t appear any will, leaving only remote law enforcement and the occasional SRO to respond to violent situations.

Do you think this would be a good move for Walker County Schools?   Tiny Facebook

Just stop. Stop.

Turning clocks backwards and forwards doesn’t make any sense anymore if it ever did.   Tiny Facebook

LaFayette is ranked as the 5th most expensive place in Georgia to get renters insurance. (Dalton is 6th highest, Ringgold and Summerville are in the middle.)

On top of that, rent may go up all over the county when Commissioner Heiskell’s latest tax increase notices arrive.   Tiny Facebook

“Food for Fines” will resume in all four Cherokee Regional Library branches during November.

New Library Interior

Starting 11/9, library patrons with overdue book fees can pay their debt with canned food, which will be given to several area food pantries and charities.   Tiny Facebook

GA drivers charged with DUI have found a new loophole to escape punishment: Getting breathalyzer results thrown out of court by claiming they were too drunk at the time to give legal consent to a test.   Tiny Facebook

Chattanooga is known as a rock climbing haven.

Rocktown at Pigeon Mountain

Partial credit for that belongs to Walker County: One of the region’s best rock climbing attractions is Rocktown at Pigeon Mountain, a few miles outside LaFayette.   Tiny Facebook

State law enforcement groups urge a committee reviewing medical marijuana law to keep cannabis-derived products under the same laws and rules used for other medications. Licensed pharmacies and pharmacists, not dispensaries and potheads.

Otherwise it’s just a back door to recreational weed, which is a different issue entirely.   Tiny Facebook

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3 comments so far

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  1. Can’t find any results of this ill-fated “vote” for more taxation.

  2. It was approved by 73% of the few voters who showed up to cast a ballot.

    We’ll have more in the Thursday Update.

    — LU

  3. Thanks. Argh.