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Advance voting begins for election
School tax lone issue
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Forsyth County News

Where to vote early
Advance voting runs through Friday. The following locations will be open to all Forsyth County residents. Voters must bring a valid photo ID to cast a ballot.

• Voter Registrations and Elections Office
Forsyth County Administration Building
110 E. Main St., Suite 200
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

• Forsyth County Public Safety Complex
3520 Settingdown Road
8 a.m.-7 p.m.

• Midway Park
5100 Post Road
8 a.m.-7 p.m.

• Cumming Public Library
585 Dahlonega Hwy.
8 a.m.-7 p.m.

• Forsyth County property formerly known as Lakeland Community Church
2110 Sharon Road
8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Just a few days remain to vote on a 1-cent sales tax for the Forsyth County school system.

The early voting period has ended and advance voting runs through Friday.

The county has opened five locations for residents to vote. The tax extension is the only item on the ballot.

The last chance to vote will be election day, March 15.

As of Monday, 623 ballots had been cast, said Mandi Smith at the local elections office.

If approved by voters, the fourth round of the 1-cent sales tax would begin July 1, 2012, and would last five years, or until tax collections hit $195 million.

About $141.4 million of that money would go toward paying off voter-approved bonds from 2005 and 2007, which were used to build nine new schools, in addition to school improvements, updates and additions.

The remaining $53.6 million could be used, among other items, to buy land for future schools, improve technology at existing schools and renovate facilities.

The current sales tax, which expires on June 30, 2012, was expected to raise about $207 million to pay off the system's bond debts.

But with the slow economy, school system officials have said the actual collection likely will total less than $150 million by the time it expires.

If the sales tax referendum were to fail next week, school leaders have said the only other way to pay back the bond debt would be to raise property taxes.