Train derailment won't cause election to be decertified, Swedeborg decides
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
SWEDEBORG, Mo. (April 13, 2010) — While Swedeborg voters may be asked to vote a third time on a tax levy increase to keep their school open, board members unanimously rejected the option of asking a court to de-certify the April 6 election because of a hazardous materials train wreck that forced the evacuation of the school and neighboring homes on election day. Since the Swedeborg school is also the polling place for Swedeborg residents, that meant voters had to drive to Crocker to vote and it’s not clear whether that may have affected the election.
On election day, fire officials said about 10 to 15 cars ran off the BNSF railroad track through Swedeborg with some tanker cars overturning onto their sides and one on its top. Anhydrous ammonia was the most dangerous item in the cars that derailed, but that car did not spring a leak, according to fire officials.
“Because of the unusual circumstances, it is considered to be more or less standard procedure, particularly when there is a serious accident or a disruption of the day, which did happen at this time with little or no possible notification because of the train derailment,” District Administrator Joe Dunlop told the board members. “We felt like there were probably sufficient grounds to look at the possibility of decertifying this election and scheduling a second election later on, approximately by the county clerk’s authority, sometime in the middle of June.”
That proposal didn’t gather any support and board members voted unanimously to certify the April 6 election results, which showed 62 in favor and 102 opposed to a tax increase of $1 per $100 of assessed valuation above the current state-mandated minimum rate of $2.75.
The April 2010 vote follows a February 2009 vote proposed by a previous district administrator which also failed.