1985: Special purpose local option sales tax is created by Georgia Legislature. It gives counties the option to impose a 1-cent sales tax with the money collected from the tax to be used for a list of capital improvement projects, but it must be approved by voters.
• The sales tax extended to school districts
• Richmond County voters approve first local option sales tax for schools. Purpose: Pay off a 1996 bond (also approved by voters) for Phase I of the district’s $300 million School Improvement Program and pay for a new elementary school (Freedom Park Elementary on Fort Gordon).
• First completed local option sales tax-funded projects, all in October: roof repair and replacement at George P. Butler High, John Milledge Elementary, Windsor Spring Elementary
1999: Cross Creek High School, $21.9 million, completed (biggest ticket item of Phase I)
2002: Richmond County voters approve a second sales tax, the second phase of paying off a $300 million bond from 1996, and several new projects
2004: Richmond County Board of Education moves into new headquarters at 864 Broad St. The building was paid for with tax’s revenue.
2005: Municipalities given required share of county local option sales tax revenues
• Phase III of the tax approved
• New athletic complex at Laney High School ($13.5 million); renovations of C.T. Walker Traditional Model School ($10 million); new Deer Chase Elementary ($10.8 million); new Diamond Lakes Elementary ($11.3 million), all completed and funded by phase II of the tax.
2007: W.S. Hornsby School completed ($17 million, funded by phase II)
2009: New Pine Hill Middle School completed ($20 million, funded by phase III)
2010: New Butler High gym, façade and administrative area, track ($10.5 million); new Hephzibah High football stadium/athletic complex, gym and HVAC renovations ($13.7 million)
2011: Renovations to Tubman Education Center (formerly Tubman Middle School) completed ($10.2 million, funded by phase III)
• Phase IV up for a vote Tuesday
• Scheduled completions of replacement John Milledge Elementary, new Richmond County Technical Careers Magnet School, replacement Dorothy Hains Traditional Elementary Magnet (all funded by phase III)