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Voters Reject Jail Tax


From the March 20, 2019 issue:

Stone County voters who participated in a special election last week soundly rejected the sales tax proposal for construction and maintenance of a new county jail. Each of the two half-cent taxes was defeated with 64 percent of the vote “against” and 36 percent “for.”

More than 2,200 of the county’s 8,124 registered voters – about 27 percent – took part in the special election set by county officials as a critical step in a plan to construct a 100-bed detention center.

Stone County has been given a July deadline to present a plan for a jail that meets state standards. Officials proposed a one-half cent sales tax dedicated to bonds to fund construction, along with a one-half cent sales tax for operation and maintenance.

A breakdown of the sales tax vote shows that of the 2,231 ballots cast, 45 percent were cast during the early voting period or by absentee voters. Absentee voters cast 16 ballots, while 937 were early voters using machines, 58 were early voters using paper ballots, 800 were election day votes cast via machine and 420 were election day votes cast on paper ballots.

The measures failed in all but one precinct, with Old Lexington being the exception with 75 percent in favor. Only five ballots were cast in that precinct and on each measure the vote carried 3-1. In each case, there was one undervote, meaning a person made a choice on one measure but not the other. Other precinct results also show that some voters made a choice on only one measure.

The Stone County Quorum Court has now expanded the steering committee to develop a new plan. See related story and a chart showing individual precinct results in this issue.


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