Residents will decide whether to extend the current 1 percent sales tax for four more years. The current 2005 SPLOST is in its sixth year and will run out in December. The 2011 SPLOST, if approved, would last from January 2012 through December 2015. The county's current sales tax is 6 percent. If the 2011 SPLOST is defeated, it will drop to 5 percent next January. The county projects the four-year extension would bring in $492 million for the county to put toward a published list of projects of mainly maintenance and upkeep on the county's infrastructure, including roads, bridges and facilities.
Early voting will take place through Friday, March 11 during the weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Cobb Elections main office at 736 Whitlock Ave. in Marietta. Voters can also vote by mail during the early voting period, and can request applications at www.cobbelections.org.
Following the early voting period, other voting locations across the county will be opened.
On Wednesday, the League of Women Voters of Marietta-Cobb will sponsor a forum regarding the 2011 SPLOST from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the county government building at 100 Cherokee Street in Marietta. The debate is open to the public and will be broadcasted on the county's cable channel, Channel 23.
Lance Lamberton, president of the Cobb County Taxpayers Association, will argue against the SPLOST, and Rose Wing, an attorney who heads the Citizens for Cobb's Future, will argue for it.
Each side will give a five-minute opening statement, and three-minute closing statement. A moderator will ask questions, including those submitted in writing by audience members. The moderator will be Gloria Beauchene, a board member of the League of Women Voters.
Cobb County has collected the special sales tax since 1986. The tax has generated a total of about $1.6 billion during those years.