City of Cartersville residents will be able to vote on a proposed $59.7 million bond referendum starting next week.
“We’ll have three weeks of advance voting at the office, one week at the civic center and then on Election Day, Cartersville East and West will both be open,” said Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk during a meeting of the Bartow County Board of Elections and Voter Registration on Monday afternoon.
Cartersville residents will be able to participate in advance voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, from Feb. 22 until March 12 at the Bartow County Elections Headquarters at 1300 Joe Frank Harris Parkway.
Advance voting will be held at the Cartersville Civic Center, at 435 West Main St., from March 8 to March 12.
“We will not be doing a Saturday for this election, we’re not extending the hours for this election,” Kirk said. “And the civic center will be open the last week.”
He said Cartersville residents will not be able to vote via absentee ballot drop boxes for the upcoming March 16 referendum.
“That operation has ended now,” he said.
The $59.7 million general obligation debt referendum is the lone item on the ballot. If approved by Cartersville voters, the funding would be used for various City school system projects and educational expenditures.
The bonds would be payable semiannually, at an interest rate not to exceed 5% per annum. The exact rates would be determined by a supplemental City of Cartersville resolution, “adopted prior to the issuance of the related series.”
In an election notice, the City of Cartersville indicates the municipality will conduct no audits or performance reviews “with respect to the bonds.”
As for where the funding would be allocated, the City indicates the bond money would go towards “the cost of acquiring, constructing and equipping of one or more new schools and other buildings and facilities useful or desirable in connection therewith,” including possible repairs, renovations and improvements to athletic facilities.
An election notice also indicates the funding would be used for “acquiring instructional and administrative technology improvements” such as software, vehicles such as school buses and “acquiring any necessary property therefore, both real and personal.”
Per City documents, the maximum annual debt service on the bonds, in any given year, would not exceed $5,926,500.
“We’re staffing this one pretty small, just enough folks to keep the process running,” Kirk said. “I do not expect a heavy turnout in this election.”
In other matters, Kirk briefly touched upon last year’s elections office expenditures. He indicated that the department did go over budget, with more information on specific expenses forthcoming.
“We did get some grant money last year that helped with stuff, but this is really being covered by the County,” he said at Monday’s board meeting.
The board also voted to approve a 2021 meeting schedule. Teleconference meetings are planned throughout May.
“We still have our certification meetings the Friday after the election,” Kirk said. “But those need to be at 3 o’clock now rather than 5 o’clock so we can certify before 5 o’clock.”
The board also voted to approve poll managers for the March 16 referendum vote.
“These are the same poll managers that we used for the January runoff,” he said. “It’s just a much smaller election this time.”
Kirk also told the board he’d have more information regarding a State review of potential voter fraud in Bartow County — which may have occurred in the 2018 election cycle — available next week.
“I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about this in an open meeting right now, we are on the agenda for the State election board next week — in fact, we’re on the agenda this week, as well,” he said. “The State election board is trying to clean up a lot of older cases … so the one coming up is about folks voting twice.”