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Early voting for SPLOST starts today
Elections office open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. off Browns Bridge
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Early voting

What: Special purpose local option sales tax for education
When: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, today through March 11
Where: Hall County Elections and Voter Registration Office, Suite 2, 2285 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

Early voting for the March 15 special purpose local option sales tax begins today and will continue to March 11.

Hours for the Hall County Elections Office are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the office is located on Browns Bridge Road.

Voters will decide if they want to continue a 1-cent sales tax for school construction projects in Hall County, Gainesville and Buford schools. The present tax expires in 2012.

In the past, SPLOST dollars have supported new school construction, facility renovations and reductions to bond debt. The new SPLOST would generate about $25 million for Gainesville City Schools and $100 million for Hall County Schools over the next five years.

Part of Buford City Schools is in Hall County, and the district would negotiate a share of the funding with Hall and Gainesville. Buford would collect about $3.8 million.

School leaders say addressing facility needs would be a major focus of the SPLOST. Some school buildings in Hall and Gainesville are more than 50 years old and are beginning to deteriorate.

In Hall, money will be used to fund heating, roofing and electrical work. The remainder of the money would help pay off bond debt and upgrade technology.

The Gainesville school district would use the funds to replace Fair Street International Baccaulaureate World School, which was constructed in the 1930s. A portion would also be used for renovations and bond debt.

Monday is the last day to register to vote in the special election, said Charlotte Sosebee, interim director of elections and voter registration.

"Although Feb. 14 is a furlough day for the county offices, we will be open," Sosebee said.

On Election Day, polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., she said.

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