DIXON, Mo. (Nov. 4, 2010) — After months of hearing reports of backed-up or overflowing sewers, Dixon city aldermen voted to put a ballot question before their city’s voters seeking approval to issue $3.5 million worth of bonds to improve the city’s wastewater treatment system. Voters decided on Tuesday that they agreed the project is needed, approving it by a wide margin of 381 to 66.
At 85 percent to 15 percent, that’s the widest margin of victory of any local candidate or local issue anywhere in Pulaski County this election.
The only higher margin was an 86.69 percent vote in favor of State Constitutional Amendment 3, which bars any cities other than Kansas City and St. Louis from passing a local earnings tax and requires periodic votes of residents in those cities on whether to keep their existing taxes in place. That issue passed in Pulaski County by 7,705 in favor to 1,183 votes or only 13.31 percent against.
While the project’s ballot language allows the money to be used for “extending and improving the combined waterworks and sewerage system of the city,” the primary intent is to use the funds for sewer improvements. The ballot language allows flexibility if needed to use funds for the water system as well as the sewer system.
The sewer bond vote won’t mean a tax increase for city residents, but it likely will mean an increase in sewer and water rates. City officials already have been raising those rates in recent years since the city’s rates have been so low that Dixon didn’t qualify for most grants; grant approvers generally expect cities to raise local revenues before seeking outside funding sources.
Since the Dixon sewer ballot issue affected only the city of Dixon, only city residents — about 30 percent of the total voters in the Dixon precinct, which follows school district lines and runs many miles down Highway 28 toward Saint Robert — had the right to vote. That means precinct reporting was limited only to the Dixon precinct and to absentee voters.
Of those who turned out Tuesday to vote at the polling place, 350 residents or 85 percent voted in favor of the sewer bond with 63 residents or 15 percent opposed. Those voting absentee prior to election day were even more strongly in favor of the sewer bond, approving it by 31 yes votes or 91 percent compared to three negative votes or 9 percent.
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