WHAT IS E-SPLOST? (SPECIAL PURPOSE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX)?
Superintendent of the Ware County School District, Bert Smith visited the club to encourage the attendees to support the renewal of E-SPLOST. He explained that the measure was not an added tax, but a continuation of the current one penny tax that will expire in September. E-SPLOST helps to reduce property taxes by using sales tax as a funding source, rather than issuing a bond for construction programs that property owners may be required to pay through property tax. E-SPLOST provides a method for funding the cost of educational improvements that everyone pays. This is important because sales tax is paid by everyone who shops or stays in Ware County! Forty-five percent of the funds are paid by people from outside the county who shop and do business in Ware County.
E-SPLOST can be used to pay for capital projects, buses, technology, and retirement debt, but cannot be used to pay maintenance and operating expenses, such as teacher salaries, maintenance, supplies, and utilities.
Why should people who do not have children in school support the E-SPLOST extension?
He further emphasized that children are not the only ones who benefit from strong schools. The social and economic strength of a community is influenced by having a strong educational
program in place. Good schools mean well-prepared citizens, a strong labor market, and an inviting atmosphere for living and working. One of the key questions asked by industrial/commercial or residential prospects looking to move into a community is “What’s the quality of the schools?”
The E-SPLOST is different from the Ware County Commission SPLOST. The E-SPLOST is a special purpose tax approved by the citizens for improvements of school facilities and equipment. The county’s Splost is a special purpose tax designed to fund county projects identified by the Ware County Commission.
What happens if citizens do not VOTE to continue the ESPLOST?
The E-SPLOST is the primary source of funding for building and maintaining school facilities for students. Without these funds, the school district will be limited in its ability to provide new classrooms and to maintain existing school facilities. In addition to buildings, the E-SPLOST has been a key funding source for ensuring that technology for students and teachers is updated. Educational technology is changing. E-SPLOST is needed for Ware County School District to effectively meet the needs of students and teachers.
Superintendent Smith encouraged the listeners to support and vote for the E-SPLOST. The E-SPLOST vote is on Tuesday, May 24th.
Dates to Remember:
Election Day – May 24, 2022
Early Voting – May 2 – May 20 – 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday Voting – May 7 & May 14 – 9 am – 5 pm
Absentee Ballots may be requested between March 7 – May 13, 2022,
GARY GRIFFIN WITH THE WAYCROSS AREA BLOOD DRIVE
Mr. Griffin began his presentation by reminding everyone of what Mr. Al Jacobson has meant to the success of the Red Cross Waycross Blood Drive since it began in 2006. He called Al a great man who had been responsible for many outstanding contributions to improving his community over his long life. In the past, the blood drives in Waycross and Ware County had been hosted by various churches. Changing locations and times frequently. Early on the total donations averaged about seventy. But as the years went by and confusion sometimes caused people to forget or not know where the events were held from month to month the donations began to diminish to twenty or thirty pints a month.
One day in 2006, Al and Gary were the only two people sitting at the blood drive site. They began to talk about the lack of participation and what a shame it was that this was so poorly attended.
He said that Al began to get angry. He asked Gary to put a notice in the newspaper inviting the public to attend a meeting to organize a volunteer group to rally the community and build awareness of the importance of donating blood. About a dozen volunteers showed up. From that meeting up to the present, the Waycross Area Blood Drive has become the number one producing blood drive in Georgia and the nineteenth in the USA. Al Jacobson willed it to happen. A take-charge Type A personality, Al was the driving force behind the operation from 2006 until his own health began to fail late in 2021. He gave thirty-three gallons of blood in his lifetime. Al Jacobson led by doing.
One of the reasons for the success here is there is always a stable time and place each month (Waycross Exchange Club on the 4th Monday each month). Local businesses and individuals sponsor the blood drives with monetary gifts and/or gift certificates that donors could win when they donate. In 2021, two thousand twenty-one pints of blood were collected. Last month, the goal was 115 and 115 pints were collected.
Currently, there are approximately twenty volunteers but, more is needed. Volunteers usually take shifts of one to three hours during the ten hours the doors are open. The duties are to welcome the potential donors and have them sign in. A nurse screens the donors. The nurse checks the donor’s blood pressure, pulse, and quick finger stick. After the procedure, a volunteer will invite them to sit down and offer a glass of juice and a snack. The donors often socialize with others for a while before leaving.
Within twelve to fourteen hours new blood will replace the small amount of liquid that was taken. A donor can donate blood every two months. By giving one pint of whole blood you get the satisfaction of saving three lives!
The next Red Cross Blood Drive will be held on Monday, April 25th at the Waycross Exchange Club, 2401 Knight Avenue. It will be the Al Jacobson Memorial Blood Drive. Everyone is invited.