Hancock County Election: Nauvoo-Colusa voters reject 55-cent increase in education fund

Posted: Apr. 9, 2013 11:16 pm Updated: Apr. 24, 2013 1:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

NAUVOO, Ill. — The Nauvoo-Colusa School Board must either cut programs or issue working cash bonds now that voters have rejected a 55-cent tax increase in the education fund.

The hike was designed to stave off cuts in the elementary district. Even though the results were disappointing, with 199 votes in favor and 514 against, "we'll get through it," Superintendent Kent Young said. "People don't like their taxes raised."

Putting a referendum back on the ballot in the future also remains a possibility, Young said.
Discussion to decide the district's next step begins at the next board meeting on Monday.

Declining state revenue, coupled with rising costs, pushed Nauvoo-Colusa into deficit spending of about $200,000 a year. The School Board put the tax increase on the ballot and had taken steps potentially to issue $1 million in working cash bonds if the referendum didn't pass.

Young said the bonds are a "short-term fix" to the problem, while the referendum offered "more of a long-term fix."

The district's $2 tax rate in the education fund, the largest operating fund, is the lowest in Hancock County and one of the lowest in the state, Young said. Even had the referendum been approved, the district still would have had one of the lowest tax rates.

In recent years, Young said the district has made cuts and looked for savings on staff, utilities, equipment and transportation. More cuts "at this point would be programs like sports or a teacher not required by law or the common core standards," Young said. "There's no place else to cut."

Most of the district's operating funds, 75 percent, comes from local tax dollars, with the rest from state and federal sources.


Other Hancock County ballot questions and races:

• Hamilton voters agreed to allow the city to negotiate with a wholesale electricity supplier for residential and small commercial customers in the city. The move is expected to save residents and businesses over 20 percent. Customers can "opt out" and chose their own supplier or participate with a larger group.

• Brad Gooding and incumbents Sherry Huston and Trish Markley topped Amy Graham and Ryan Blue for Carthage Elementary School District board seats.

• Incumbent Michele Snyder lost a re-election bid for the Nauvoo-Colusa School Board. Incumbents Sandy Stevenson and Doran Cox, along with Tonya Little and Tina Poe, won the four seats.

• In Hamilton, incumbents Brad Hartweg and Rebecca Bliss topped John Fox and Wade Plowman for an unexpired two-year School Board term.

• Incumbents Steven T. Bruenger and Rick Ramsey, David Mark Cox and Jeremy Stephens topped Roberta "Bobbi" Smith for four Southeastern School Board seats.

• Bowen voters picked incumbent Linda Twaddle over Bethany Harrison for clerk, while incumbents Brian Gaines and Sue Owen along with Kyle Cooper won trustee seats.

• Michael D. Thompson, Terry Vass and James Schaller topped a field of five for Ferris trustees.

• Steven Lowman defeated former mayor David Cornelius for the mayor's job in Hamilton.

• LaHarpe voters chose Josiah Neff over incumbent Vicki E. Burford for Alderman First Ward and incumbent Darrell E. Kraft over Brian Wayne Covert for Alderman Second Ward.

• Nauvoo Mayor John K. McCarty won another term over Beverly Reynolds.

• Tiffany Murphy won a three-way race for mayor in Warsaw while incumbent First Ward Alderman Truman Phillips defeated Joshua L. Smith by two votes and Leslie Beeler defeated Richard L. Barber in the Second Ward.

• Plymouth voters returned clerk Phyllis J. Smith to office over challenger Judy Grody. Incumbent Gary Hurt, Tony Miller and Wendi Mattson topped Lily Breedon for four-year trustee terms, and incumbent Jim Mattson took the unexpired two-year term over Michelle Burton and Samantha Meek.