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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bi-county voters look ahead to ballot issues next week

Friday, October 30, 2009

Courthouses in Mt. Vernon and Cassville will be open for absentee voting in the clerks' offices from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday for the Nov. 3 election.

In Barry County, voters in Purdy will decide whether or not to replace one of the city's two half-cent sales tax issues with two half-cent taxes. To avoid controversy over having "stacked" taxes, for which the city is being sued by Farmington attorney Tom Burcham, the city council is asking residents to relabel one of the taxes.

Instead of having two taxes supporting the city's general fund, the ballot proposal would change one of the existing taxes into a half-cent tax to maintain streets and a second half-cent tax for capital improvements.

A majority vote will be required to approve the two half-cent sale tax issues and replace the one-cent general revenue sales tax. If voters defeat both issues, the city's current tax will remain unchanged.

Patrons in the Pierce City R-6 School District are getting a second chance this year to authorize $3.9 million in bonds to pay for construction of a new middle school and a vocational agriculture building. A similar effort to build a new classroom building was defeated in April. The latest proposal would add a vo-ag classroom and shop on the east side of the high school gym.

Advocates for the proposition have pointed out the district may be able to take advantage of interest free bonds available under the federal stimulus package if construction is authorized, thus reducing the cost to the district over the normal 20-year life of the bond issue.

If approved, the issue would raise the district's debt service property tax levy from 66 cents to 99 cents.

Voters in the Verona R-7 School District will decide a $500,000 no-tax increase bond issue that would finance the demolition of the district's old high school and the construction and equipping of new locker rooms and physical conditioning facilities.

Bond money would also be used to complete disability improvements to the district's existing school facilities in order to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and other facility improvement projects.

If approved, the Verona School District's debt service levy will remain at 83 cents.

Elsewhere in Lawrence County, the City of Aurora is going back to voters for reauthorization of its half-cent sales tax for street maintenance. Unlike other bi-county municipalities, Aurora must go back to voters every five years to reauthorize the sales tax.

The sales tax for streets replaces a personal property tax and has to be renewed periodically. If voters renew the tax this time, future requests to continue the sales tax would not be necessary.

A simple majority is needed for passage.

Absentee ballots will still be accepted through Monday, Nov. 2 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. in both counties.

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