Bond issues pass; use tax fails

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Barry County voters generously approved three school propositions and a fire protection district issue, but defeated a county use tax and a 50-cent street tax levy during Tuesday's election.

"It says a tremendous amount about our community that both of our issues, the fire district and the school bond issue, passed," said Tina Nolan, Exeter superintendent. "The people showed up to vote and support these issues and their community."

Exeter voters approved a $1.1 million general obligation bond issue proposal that will finance the construction of a two-story, 12,000-square-foot multipurpose facility and several new classrooms on the R-VI campus.

District patrons voted nearly two-to-one in favor of the proposition. A total of 174 votes were cast in favor of the bond issue and 109 votes were cast against it.

Exeter voters also approved a 30-cent property tax issue that will support the Exeter Fire Department.

"I'm extremely pleased with the vote," said Jim Matthew, Exeter fire chief. "I appreciate the show of support and the community spirit. This will definitely help the fire department, and by helping us, it will help the people."

The approved tax, which will change the fire department from a membership-based organization to a tax-based district, will increase the fire department's annual operating revenues from around $20,000 to over $40,000 per year.

In addition to the increased financial support, the tax issue will establish an official boundary line for the Exeter Fire Protection District, which will be recorded and protected under Missouri statutes.

The fire district will be governed by a five-member board of trustees. Voters elected JC Brattin, Earl Adams, Sheryl Cassity, Ron Shockley and Jack Snook to the first five seats on the board.

Voters in the Wheaton School District overwhelmingly approved a $1.7 million bond issue that will finance the construction, equipping and furnishing of a 17,300-square-foot vocational education facility on the R-III campus.

The new facility will feature classrooms for the district's vocational agriculture, family and consumer science, business technology and computer technology programs.

Voters approved the bond issue by a two-to-one margin. A total of 322 votes supported the bond issue and only 160 votes were cast against the issue.

Purdy R-II School District patrons also approved a district bond issue during Tuesday's election.

Thanks to a four-to-one vote on the issue, the district will finance a $2.1 million district-wide building project that will add classrooms at the elementary, middle and high schools. A total of 397 votes were cast in favor of the R-II proposition and only 99 votes were cast against it.

Barry County voters narrowly defeated a county use tax, which would have provided the county with additional revenue for law enforcement and roads. The tax would have replaced local sales tax funds that are lost when goods and materials are purchased out of state.

The Barry County use tax attracted 1,569 "no" votes and only 1,512 "yes" votes, a difference of only 57 ballots.

Voters in the Ash, Butterfield, Capps Creek, Cassville Rural-Mineral-McDonald, Crane Creek, Exeter, Golden, Jenkins, Seligman, Shell Knob and Washburn precincts defeated the use tax issue, while voters in the Cassville City, Kings Prairie-Pleasant Ridge, Monett, Ozark, Purdy-McDowell and Wheaton precincts approved it.

A 50-cent tax issue that was placed on the April 3 ballot by the City of Butterfield was also defeated Tuesday.

Voters opposed the tax issue, which would have generated around $12,000 each year for street maintenance, by a two-to-one margin. The tax issue earned 28 "no" votes and only 10 "yes" votes.

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