Chamber seeks volunteers to promote referendum
The Thomasville Area Chamber of Commerce is looking for poll workers to help educate the public about the upcoming quarter-cent sales tax referendum.
Davidson County voters face a quarter cent sales tax referendum intended to raise funds for education, starting with the construction of a high school in the northern part of the county. The Thomasville Area Chamber of Commerce favors the referendum and seeks help to generate more support.
“Our Chamber is far from having a tax-and-spend philosophy,” said Chamber President Doug Croft. “But we also know that quality education is vital to economic development and jobs within our community. We can't separate education and jobs. Supporting the miniscule sales tax is about building appropriate school facilities to keep Davidson County economically viable.”
The Thomasville chamber is a partner of the Davidson Strong for Education coalition, a committee formed by the Davidson County Commissioners to help educate the public on the proposed referendum. Thomasville City Schools Board of Education on April 8 signed a resolution supporting the coalition.
Croft said the Chamber supports the quarter-cent sales tax increase for a variety of reasons. The referendum originated from a need to relieve overcrowding at both North Davidson and Ledford high schools. Construction of a high school is projected to cost approximately $43 million, but that is only one project in need of funding. The three county school systems have an additional $83 million in capital needs projects and another $100 million has been requested for the Davidson County Community College link center.
Should the referendum fail, property taxes across the county are expected to increase in order to generate the funding. Croft said increasing property tax puts a burden on property owners and local businesses. The sales tax increase does not impact items such as groceries, automobiles or gasoline.
“I'm a business owner with significant manufacturing property,” said Rod Lambeth, owner of Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth Furniture companies. “We have a voice in this. I'd much rather support school construction voluntarily through retail spending than have it shoved down our throats. If the alternative is more property taxes that just makes it harder for me to keep employees working.”
Volunteers will be asked to hand out cards to vote for the referendum.
For more information, call 475-6137 or visit thomasvillechamber.net.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early voting at the Thomasville Public Library will open Thursday and run through May 3. Weekday hours run from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. April 24 through May 2 and from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3. On May 6, the polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.