Council to let voters decide referendum

Apr. 15, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

Thomasville City Council plans to let voters decide on the upcoming quarter-cent sales tax referendum.
Members of the personnel and finance committee on April 8 elected not to vote on a resolution of support from the Davidson County Commissioners for the referendum scheduled on the May 6 primary ballot. Two of the three council members on the committee needed to approve the resolution before it could be placed on the April 14 briefing that defines the monthly meeting.
“We had a request to do one,” said Councilman Raleigh York, chairperson of the committee. “The decision was that we would let the voters decide. It's already on the ballot, the voters are going to vote and they will be the ones making the decision.”
Voters on May 6 will cast their ballot either for or against a quarter-cent sales increase proposed by the Davidson County Commissioners to fund a new high school in the northern part of the county. Commissioners created the committee Davidson County Strong for Education to educate the public on the tax increase. The referendum has gained support from all three boards of education in the county and the Thomasville Area and Northern Davidson chambers of commerce.
“Nobody is either for or against it,” York said of the referendum. “I don't want it to sound like we're against the referendum. We just decided the people will vote. It's a county issue. Of course, we're in the county, but this wasn't something that we brought up. The commissioners brought it up. We didn't do anything as far as a resolution of our own on it.”
Councilman Neal Grimes said there is plenty of information available to the public on the referendum, including what happens if it doesn't get passed.
“The people need to understand that if it goes through they're going to use that money to build a school,” said Grimes. “If it doesn't go through, property tax on the county level will be raised to build the school. The school is going to be built one way or the other. It's just a matter of how it's going to be financed. [The resolution of support] just didn't get traction enough through the committee to be considered on the main agenda for next Monday night.”
The proposed sales tax increase is expected to generate more than $2 million a year, according to the Davidson County Finance Department. Construction costs of a new high school to alleviate overcrowding at North Davidson High School and Ledford High School will cost approximately $40 million.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or