SIDNEY — Voters in the city of Sidney defeated the city’s 0.30 percent municipal income tax levy on Tuesday. The levy was to provide permanent funding for street maintenance and for fire department operations.
The unofficial total for the levy was 890 votes for and 1233 votes against the levy.
The levy would have replaced the five-year 0.25 percent levy for street maintenance that will expire Dec. 31, 2019. The new levy was to planned to have been split evenly between street maintenance and fire department operations, with half of the proceeds permanently designated for street maintenance and half for fire department operations.
Results of Tuesday’s election will be certified Monday, May 20, at 9 a.m. by the Shelby County Board of Elections.
“It is always disheartening to lose an election. Obviously the majority of voters did not like the proposal that was presented to them. As structured, the levy provided a way forward for both well-maintained streets and better emergency response times at little extra cost to taxpayers. Council will have to determine the path forward. I certainly thank the committee for their efforts,” Mayor Mike Barhorst said after the last precinct results were received.
“Disappointed,” said Streets and Safety for Sidney Committee Chair and Shelby County Commissioner Bob Guillozet, when asked how he was feeling when the final results came out.
Guillozet, who is a former deputy fire chief, paramedic and fire marshal for the city of Sidney, said the committee will need to discuss the next step for a future levy.
“We will have to sit down and discuss what is next. See if we can find out what the voters want,” he said. “Nobody likes new taxes. I don’t like taxes. This is a very, very small tax increase. We thought it was a really good deal for the community. We thought we could get a fire station and streets taken care of. The sad thing is now, we not only don’t get a fire station, but we lose progress on the streets.”
Guillozet said, when asked, that the levy would not be brought forth again in a special election before November.
“Not even sure we will (bring the levy) back in November,” Guillozet said.
Fire Chief Bradley Jones said, “While it is disappointing and disheartening, Sidney Fire will still provide the best customer service we can. Time matters in emergency situations, and we’ll simply do the best with what the voters have given us.”
This was the first time the voters were asked to approve a permanent levy on the two issues together. Previously they approved a 5-year levy for street repairs only in November 2014.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.