Less than two dozen votes. That’s the margin by which Pittsylvania County’s voters rejected a 1% sales tax question Tuesday, according to results from the county registrar’s office.
“It failed by very little,” said Registrar Kelly Keesee.
After all votes were counted and finalized Friday, 12,751 residents voted “no,” while 12,728 cast their ballots in favor of the measure — a difference of 23 votes.
Until Friday afternoon, there were 81 remaining, uncounted ballots that awaited scrutiny by the county election board to determine whether they were valid. They were crucial in determining the outcome of the sales-tax question, which was failing by 44 votes before Friday.
Of the 81 outstanding ballots, 61 were those cast by residents who voted by mail and returned their ballot by noon Friday, with the ballot postmarked on or before Election Day.
“Those had to be reviewed to see if they could be counted,” Keesee said.
In addition, there were 20 provisional ballots — those cast on Election Day and it couldn’t be determined immediately whether they had voted previously.
Of the 81 ballots, 76 were counted, Keesee said. The other five were determined to be invalid, with four incomplete and one returned with a ballot but no information about the voter, she said.
The four ballots were incomplete because they lacked either a voter or witness signature, Keesee said.
The sales tax revenue from the increase would have generated about $3.3 million per year in the county and would have covered about $47 million of the costs for improvements at the elementary schools and the career and technical center.
About $12 million of the $66 million would have been covered by CARES Act funding to pay for HVAC repairs and replacements and window replacements at six elementary schools and the Pittsylvania Career and Technical Center.
Energy savings from solar power projects in the school system would have paid for about $5.6 million in roof repairs and replacements at elementary and middle schools and the career and technical center.
A $1.1 million performance contract would have covered HVAC replacements and repairs at Gretna and Twin Springs elementary schools and Gretna Middle School