Voters in southwest Iowa didn’t let the storms and in some cases flood waters stop them from heading to the polls Tuesday to help decide on initiatives in three school district special elections. The Lewis Central, East Mills and Missouri Valley public school districts asked voters to weigh in on voter-initiated funding streams. The Daily NonPareil reports voters said yes to Lewis Central and Missouri Valley, but rejected East Mills’ proposal. Turnout was low in Council Bluffs, where a tax was being renewed, but around 30 percent of voters showed up in Missouri Valley, Malvern and Hastings, where additional taxes were on the ballot.
Kristi Everett, elections deputy for Pott. County, said the instructional support levy was approved by a vote of 227-75. The levy represented about 54 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation in property taxes, based on last year, as well as a 6 percent income surtax. The levy brings in about $1.3 million annually for the district. With Tuesday’s decision, the levy has been renewed for a decade. The Lewis Central Community School District’s existing instructional support levy was set to expire in June 2016.
Voters in the East Mills School District rejected an expanded physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL) 403-345, according to unofficial results from the Mills County Auditor’s Office. The East Mills Community School District will not expand its board-approved 33 cent per $1,000 of taxable valuation. The district had asked voters to expand that to a $1.34 levy. Turnout for the election was about 31.4 percent. The levy would have generated an additional nearly $4 million for infrastructure projects.
Approval of the levy was anticipated in the district’s facility plans, which also include a school bond campaign. Superintendent Paul Croghan said he isn’t sure what the next step will be. The school board will have its next meeting Sept. 15, he said.
And in the Missouri Valley School District, voters approved physical plant and equipment levy was approved 704-153, according to unofficial results from the Harrison County Auditor’s Office. About 28.6 percent of registered voters turned out for the contest. Of the 857 votes cast, 66 were cast on absentee ballots.
With the outcome, the Missouri Valley Community School District will double its existing physical plant and equipment levy, which pays for infrastructure needs, to a combined $1.34 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. The levy is expected to generate $2.9 million to help pay for a $7.5 million investment in the district’s campus, connecting all the schools together and making safety and wellness improvements. The remaining $4.6 in funding would come through state sales tax revenue.
And, voters in the Bedford Community School District approved by a vote of 284-to 249, a 33-cent increase in the district’s PPEL, to $1.67 per thousand dollars valuation. School officials proposed the increase to cover roughly half the cost of a new heating and air conditioning system in the Bedford K-12 building. Revenues from the district’s local option sales and service tax will cover the remaining half.