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Limestone sales tax vote set for Aug. 14

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — Those who want to have a say on whether Limestone County's sales tax should increase a penny need to make plans to vote Aug. 14.

On Monday, the Limestone County Commission set Aug. 14 as the day to vote on raising the sales tax 1 cent countywide.

Initially, Probate Judge Mike Davis was looking at holding the vote Aug. 7, but the Limestone County Board of Education asked the county to push it back a week.

"We believe holding the vote on (Aug. 7) could have an adverse effect on the outcome," a letter from the board stated.

That's because school does not begin until Aug. 9, and teachers and parents might be out of town Aug. 7.

A 1-cent sales tax increase would raise sales tax to 7 cents on the dollar in the county and 9 cents in Athens.

County and Athens schools would split the tax based on enrollment. That split now is 75 percent to the county and 25 percent to the city.

The referendum is to specify that the tax is for 10 years unless renewed by a vote.

County and city school officials said they would spend the money on capital needs.

The county system wants to fund a $50 million bond issue for capital improvements such as new elementary schools, building new gyms, buying land for expansion and renovating cafeterias.

The city system's five-year capital plan includes elementary school renovations, classroom additions and a three-phase, $5 million athletic complex for Athens High.

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