Gulfport bond vote turnout: Slow, but steady

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Poll workers in the Gulfport School District described Tuesday's voter turnout as slow, but steady.

"So far, we think it's turned out pretty good for it to be what it is," poll worker Doris Dewease said. "But we're hoping for a lot more that comes in."

Some fresh faces showed up, like Claire Champagne. She's voting for the first time and acting as a poll worker.

"I chose to be a part of this because I really like politics and I really like getting involved in my community, so I just wanted to be a poll worker, thought it would be a nice experience," Champagne explained.

I visited several polling places Tuesday and talked with dozens of voters, both on camera and off. Those who did show up to vote certainly were talking about the safety of Gulfport High School and the fact there are 74 current entrances. That concerns voter Charlotte Delcambre.

"I'm a teacher and I value education and I'm concerned about the safety issue of the high school." she said. "Too many doors in and out and I think that needs to be changed."

Family connections also played a large role in bringing people to the polls.

"I have kids that went through the Gulfport High School system. I graduated there, my wife did and I have grandkids coming up now," Anthony Ramsey said. "It's time to make it a safer place for them to go to school."

"Both my children attended Gulfport High and I believe the school is about 50 years old, so it's time for a new facility to benefit the citizens and students of this community," Herman Cox implored.

Dennis Brooks also cited family, saying, "I have a daughter that's a school teacher and a lot of grandkids and a lot of kids have gone through the Gulfport school system, and I believe in supporting them."

If 60 percent of Gulfport voters approve the school bond, property taxes on a $100,000 home will go up $39.20 from what they are today. Here's the key: Gulfport property tax bills today include a 1996 school bond that added $64 to tax rolls. That bond expires in 2016.

So, if the bond passes, a Gulfport homeowner will pay $104 more a year. Why $104? Because homeowners will pay the $39.20 increase with this bond and what amounts to an extension of the 1996 bond that was about to come off the books.

If the bond fails, taxes will drop in 2016 by $64, because that's when the 1996 bond comes off the books.

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