voter turnout

 Linda Dennison will join the Blackshear City Council in January, Shawn Godwin won a four year term in his own right and the county’s one cent local option sales tax passed, but turnout in both the municipal and general elections last Tuesday was paltry.

Blackshear’s district five had a total of 46 voters out of 296 in the district for a turnout of just 15.5 percent. The district six race was the highest of the election with 19.2 percent as 69 of the 359 voters in the district cast ballots. Turnout for the sales tax election was the lowest as only 6.69 percent of county voters participated in the referendum.

Pierce County has a total of 11,402 registered voters.

Dennison, a political newcomer, defeated former councilman Roy Gilleon 37-31 in the balloting to take the district six seat on the city council.

Dennison, the widow of former county chairman Jim Dennison, is retired after working  for more than a decade in the Pierce County Board Of Elections and Registration Office.

Dennison said she is honored and thrilled to be able to serve her community.

“I appreciate the people who voted and I am ready to get started. Thank you to the citizens of Blackshear for this opportunity to serve you,” she said.

District five incumbent Shawn Godwin handily won a full, four-year term on the council as the district five representative. Godwin defeated Jeffrey Parr 32-14 to win a full term. Parr previously served on the city council.

Godwin is currently filling the unexpired term of longtime Councilman Jerry Dixon who died in office earlier this year. Godwin took office in August after qualifying unopposed in a July special election.

Godwin thanked the residents of district five for their support.

“I will continue uphold the values of Blackshear and look forward to working with our council, mayor and employees over the next four years. Your voice won with your vote,” he said.

In the only county-wide referendum on the ballot, voters approved an extension of the one cent local option sales tax by a margin of 515-244.

The newly approved SPLOST will replace the current SPLOST once it expires March 31, 2020.

The new SPLOST is expected to generate $14 million over the next five years.

Pierce County will use their share of the 2020 SPLOST to construct an addition to the Pierce County Jail and make improvements at the Ware Street Recreation Department. Additional monies will be used for upgrading fire departments and firefighting equipment, road paving and improvements and to pay for sheriff’s vehicles and road equipment. Some funds will be used to pay revenue bonds on the administrative building and library.

Blackshear has designated their funds for water and sewer infrastructure, public safety, road maintenance and construction, recreational facilities and downtown development.

Patterson has also earmarked their SPLOST dollars for road construction and maintenance, downtown developmental and recreational facilities, public safety, Eagle Station projects and water and sewer infrastructure.

Offerman’s SPLOST funds will support road maintenance and construction and cultural recreational facilities.

Leah Williamson, supervisor of the board of elections, reported no problems with Tuesday’s election. The election will be the last utilizing the touch screen voting machines implemented in 2002. All new voting equipment will be in place and ready for use by the March presidential preference primary.