Public safety sales tax fails in Duncan
Duncan voters narrowly rejected a sales tax increase Tuesday, while Elgin voters approved extending a sales tax and voters approved three of four school bond proposals.
Stephens County voters also elected a new county commissioner.
Duncan voters turned out against an additional permanent 1 percent tax dedicated to help support the Duncan police and fire departments.
Voting yes for the proposition were 995, or 48.73 percent. Ballots aginst tallied 1,047, or 52.27 percent.
"On behalf of the Duncan Fraternal Order of Police, we would like to thank everybody who worked so hard on the Public safety sales tax," said Master Officer Ryan Atkinson, president of the Fraternal Order of Police. "Although this proposition did not pass, we want to ensure the citizens of Duncan that our commitment to provide a safe community for you and your family is unchanged. It is our promise that we will continue to provide the best possible service to our citizens."
"I appreciate the citizens of Duncan and the outpouring of support the fire department has received," said Duncan Fire Chief Dayton Burnside. "I'm disappointed with the election results."
Burnside also said he is extremely proud of his department and firefighters for the work they do.
"We will continue to provide the citizens of Duncan and the surrounding areas the best emergency services possible," Burnside said.
The tax would have raised the combined state, county and city sales tax rate to 9.7 percent within the city limits. The revenue generated by the sales tax would help with the hiring, retention and payment of wages, salaries and benefits of police and fire department personnel; payment for the training and education of police and fire department personnel; construction or repair of buildings for police and fire; and equipment for police and fire.
Stephens County commissioner
Russell Morgan won balloting in the District 3 Democratic primary to fill the office left vacant by the resignation of Dee Bowen. Because no Republicans filed for the office, Morgan will be declared winner of the office.
Vote totals were Morgan, 341, 40.45 percent; Terry Bishop, 110, 13.05 percent; Andy H. Powers, 112, 13.29 percent; Tony Mitchell, 239, 28.35 percent; and Emzla Pitts, 41, 4.86 percent. Special primary elections for unexpired terms for county officers do not require a majority to win the nomination.
City of Elgin
Elgin voters overwhelmingly approved the five-year extension of a quarter-cent sales tax used to fund the city's parks and recreation projects. Of the 87 votes cast, 76 were in favorfor a commanding 87.36 percent in favor of the renewal.
The tax is projected to generate around $300,000 over the next five years. Potential projects in various stages of discussion and planning include improvements to the soccer fields, a restroom and concession stand for the soccer fields, playground equipment at the ballpark complex, additional parking for parks and athletic facilities and a skate park. This is a continuation of the current tax, so residents will not see a raise in their sales tax.
Sterling Public Schools voters gave the school district a vote of confidence Tuesday by approving two bond issues by decisive margins. The first proposition, a $285,750 bond to purchase new textbooks and make widespread improvements across the district, earned 85.16 percent of the 182 votes cast. The second proposition, a $90,000 bond to purchase a new school bus, earned 84.78 percent of the 184 votes cast. Kent Lemons, superintendent, said he was proud of voters for their support.