Silver City >> A community forum focusing on the upcoming special election to increase Grant County's Gross Receipts Tax for community projects will be hosted by the Grant County Democratic Party at WNMU's Miller Library, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 25.

"Our panel will include the key players behind this capital outlay proposal, as well as observers from diverse points on the local political spectrum," said Democratic Party Vice-Chair Dr. Magdaleno Manzanarez in a release for the forum. "We expect the conversation to be enlightening and lively."

The panel for the forum will bring WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard, State Senator Howie Morales, Grant County Commission Chair Brett Kasten, Dr. Lynda Aiman-Smith, North Carolina State University Graduate Faculty, and Peter Burrows, former Grant County TEA Party chairman together in one place to discuss their feelings on the tax increase, the election, and the outcomes if the county votes in favor of the bond. Alicia Edwards, Co-Chair, Grant County Food Policy Council, will serve as moderator.

The bond will be voted on through a single question answered on a mailed-ballot. The Grant County Clerk's office will begin to mail the ballots on July 29 and must be returned by August 19.

The proposed .25 percent increase in the Gross Receipts Tax would bring the total tax to 6.44 percent in the county and 7.63 percent within Silver City. It is expected to raise an estimated $10 million in additional revenue.

"This is a really good opportunity to hear both sides of the issue," said co-chair of the communications committee for the Grant County Democratic Party. "It's an important $10 million proposal and people ought to know what they're voting on. I think there's a lot of misconception here - I think people think the election is about the projects which have bene mentioned, but it's just yes or no on whether or not to raise the tax."

Various projects have been discussed as potentially being funded by the new tax, including an expanded competitive swimming pool for WNMU, another pool for community use, improvements to the Silver City golf course, a baseball facility in the Ft. Bayard area, and a movie theater multiplex. However, the ballot which will be mailed to Grant County voters will not specify how the $10 million might be spent. The election proposal was approved by a resolution passed by the Grant County Commission on June 13.

The event is part of an ongoing series presented by the Grant County Democratic Party with the WNMU Native American Club, MEChA de WNMU, the Miller Library, and the Grant County Food Policy Council.

Benjamin Fisher may be reached at 575-538-5893 ext. 5803

The event is part of an ongoing series presented by the Grant County Democratic Party in collaboration with the WNMU Native American Club, MEChA de WNMU, the Miller Library, and the Grant County Food Policy Council.