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Local races on May ballot - Qualifying begins March 3

Pickens County Seal    Three local races will appear on the May 20 ballot, including the latest one-cent sales tax plan, three school board seats, and one district commissioner seat.
    The  (west) district commissioner’s seat held by Jerry Barnes is up for grabs.   

    On Monday, Pickens County Supervisor of Elections Julianne Roberts said only west Pickens resident Bart Connelly, who currently serves on the Pickens County Board of Assessors, has announced his candidacy for the district commissioner seat.
    “As of right now, we’ve only heard of one candidate that has announced he’ll be running,” said Roberts, “but no one has officially qualified because those qualifying dates aren’t here yet.”
    The qualifying period for candidates is the week of March 3.
    Three school board seats held by incumbents Wendy Lowe, Dan Fincher and Byron Long will all be up for election.
    While they have not made their announcement publicly, Lowe, Fincher and Long were scheduled to speak at a Tea Party candidate forum after press time on Tuesday, Feb. 25. 
    “Each party will announce their specific time and date for the qualifying for that week,” Roberts said. “They will set up here in the office and candidates can come in and register.” (See the Republican announcement in this week’s legal advertisements in the B section)
    The qualifying fee for the district commissioner’s race is $300. The qualifying fee for a school board seat is $50.
    A new $30 million SPLOST will also appear on the ballot, with a focus on infrastructure and services. According to early information, if the measure gets voter approval the lion’s share of collections will be earmarked for the construction, repair and resurfacing of roads, streets, sidewalks and bridges. There is also several million in projected collections reserved for fire service enhancement in areas of the county that are currently underserved and suffer high ISO ratings. The library, sheriff, water department and emergency services are among other areas slated to receive funds
    Under terms of agreement, portions of the collections will go to the cities of Jasper and Nelson and the town of Talking Rock.
    According to one source the distribution of money to cities and by project will be different from distributions of the 2008 one-cent sales tax that funded Pickens County Courthouse renovations. If approved, the new six-year SPLOST will begin as the 2008 SPLOST expires.
    Look for a full story about the 2014 SPLOST in an upcoming Progress, to include information about revenue distribution percentages by city, and specifics about proposed SPLOST projects. 
Other important election dates are as follows:
May 20, 2014: Primary election
July 22, 2014: Primary runoff election
Nov. 4, 2014: General election
Jan. 6, 2015: General runoff election
Early voting for the primary is expected to begin April 28, 2013.
    The Pickens County Elections & Registration Office is located at 83 Pioneer Road.

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