CAIRO — Voters will have the opportunity today to renew or reject a countywide 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST).

If approved, proceeds from the SPLOST will be used over the course of the next six years to finance projects around the county. This year's SPLOST is estimated to generate about $18 million that will be split between the county and the cities of Cairo and Whigham.

County officials are encouraging citizens to vote "yes" on their ballots.

"(The SPLOST) is in our opinion the fairest tax, because it is a sales tax," said County Administrator Buddy Johnson. "Everybody pays into that whether they're from Grady County or from outside of Grady County. If anyone is visiting, any purchases that they make go toward that tax. It does take a burden off of the land owners and property owners in Grady County." 

Grady County plans to use $1.3 million for construction and equipment for road improvements, with an additional $1 million for the purpose of upgrading and replacing public safety equipment.

In Cairo, a combined $3 million will be used to improve drinking water and waste water infrastructure, such as the water main loop near Highways 188 and 84 and repairing sources of inflow and infiltration.

The county will use an additional $7.8 million to pay previously incurred debt at Tired Creek Lake. Cairo plans to set aside $1.8 million in SPLOST revenues to pay down debt as well.

The existing SPLOST, approved by voters in 2014, is set to expire next year.

Cairo residents who have different polling locations for city and county elections may have to travel to both today in order to cast their votes. County officials had encouraged residents to vote early at the county registrar's office where they had access to both ballots in order to avoid traveling to multiple locations on election day.

By the time early voting closed Friday, more than 1,300 county residents had cast their votes in the referendum.

Residents can cast their votes today at the following 13 precincts:

• Duncanville Precinct

Beachton Fire Department

5324 Georgia Highway 93 S.

• Whigham Precinct

Boy Scouts Building

245 E. Broad Street

• County 04 Precinct

Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club

115 Sixth Street SW

• Woodland Precinct

Cairo Municipal Airport

259 Edna Lane

• Higdon Precinct

Calvary Fire Department

Georgia Highway 111 S.

• Linesink Precinct

County Line Fire Department

975 Georgia Highway 262 N.

• Midway Precinct

Midway Volunteer Fire Department

2424 Georgia Highway 93 S.

• Blowing Cave Precinct

Pine Level Fire Department

2660 Georgia Highway 112 N.

• Pine Park Precinct

Pine Park Fire Department

4049 Pine Park Road

• Ragan Precinct

Reno Community Club

192 Pine Hill Road

• Spence Precinct

Spence Fire Department

1487 Stage Coach Road

• Spring Hill Precinct

Wayside Community Center

140 Ponder Road

• County 05 Precinct

Grady County Agri-Center

65 11th Avenue NE

Polling locations will close today at 7 p.m.

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