Jackson County voters on Tuesday narrowly defeated the $15 million bond referendum for parks and recreation. The unofficial vote was 6,056 in favor, and 6,311 opposed, said Margaret Deadwyler, elections superintendent for Jackson County.
The bonds would have brought an 80-acre park to West Jackson, and a soccer field and tennis court at West Jackson Park in Hoschton.
"Of course I’m disappointed. I thought it would be an opportunity to move forward with recreation programs for children and adults for the county," said Commissioner Bruce Yates, who represents western Jackson County. He said the commission will consider other ways to fund the projects.
The bond program also would have funded a recreation center next to Lamar Murphy Park on I.W. Davis Road in Jefferson, which would include basketball and racquetball courts, an eight-lane indoor pool, meeting rooms and recreation offices.
Also Tuesday, Jackson County voters denied liquor-by-the-drink sales on Sunday in unincorporated Jackson County. The unofficial vote was 5,519 in favor, and 6,984 opposed.
The last time Sunday sales came up for a vote in July 2006, the voters turned it down, as well. Currently beer, wine and spirits can be sold in restaurants six days a week. At least 50 percent of an establishment’s sales must be nonalcoholic, such as food, to be granted a liquor license. Beer and wine package sales also are permitted six days a week.
Braselton and Hoschton allow liquor-by-the-drink sales seven days a week.
Forsyth County passes two referendums
A majority — 70 percent — of those voting Tuesday in Forsyth County approved a $100 million bond referendum that will enhance parks, recreation and green space. Proposed projects for the bond include $36 million to buy green space, $18 million for Fowler Park and $4 million to buy land for a northwest community park. The bond, which will be paid back over 20 years, is expected to raise annual property taxes by $40 for every $100,000 of a home’s appraised value. A similar margin — 69 percent — voted to extend the 1-cent sales tax for another five years. The special purpose local option sales tax, known as SPLOST VI, could bring in an estimated $275 million over five years. The bulk of the money would fund road and infrastructure improvements.