Early voting began Wednesday, Jan. 17, and will continue through Thursday, Feb. 1, in the referendum set for Tuesday, Feb. 6, to consider a half-cent hike in the local-option sales tax as a means of funding education construction and renovation.

Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson and the Williamson County Commission have called for the sales tax hike as a means of generating a projected $60 million in funding for construction and renewal at more than 15 schools across the county.

The Feb. 6 referendum will give citizens the choice of whether to raise the sales tax from 2.25 percent to 2.75 percent, an increase of .5 percent, to fund school capital debt for three years.

Overcrowding, lack of space and limited funds for expansion, growth and more resources plague WCS, the highest-achieving district in the state in the seventh wealthiest county, officials have said, adding that currently, one-third of schools in Williamson County are over capacity.

In the next 10 years, 17 new schools will be needed to accommodate approximately 20,000 new students, Williamson County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney said at a recent public meeting, with the WCS student population expected to reach up to 57,000 students in the next 10 years.
If you want to learn more about the referendum, forums are planned at several different locations this week. On Friday, Jan. 19Williamson Inc. will hold a Town Hall discussion at 7:30 a.m. at Columbia State Community College, 1228 Liberty Pike, Franklin. The fact sheets below were prepared by Williamson Inc.

The Tennessean sales tax forum at the Williamson County Public Library has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 24. It will still be held at the library, 1314 Columbia Ave. in Franklin.

Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. and the forum runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

You can cast your vote during the early voting period at the Williamson County Election Commission Office at 1320 W. Main St. in Franklin from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to noon. Saturdays.

Extended hours will go into effect on Monday, Jan. 29, when the office will be open for voting until 6 p.m.

There are also satellite early voting locations around Williamson County. The Brentwood Library will be a site of early voting Jan. 17-Feb. 1, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Extended hours will go into effect on Monday, Jan. 29, when the satellite voting site will be open for voting until 6 p.m.

On Jan. 29-Feb. 1, satellite voting will also be conducted at the Nolensville Recreation Center, 7250 Nolensville Road; Longview Recreation Center in Spring Hill/Thompson’s Station, 2909 Commonwealth Drive; and Fairview Recreation Center, 2714 Fairview Blvd. Hours will be 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on those days.