Flood-tax vote now official

BY SHANE ERSLAND | MAY 13, 2009 7:30 AM

With absentee and provisional votes now accounted for, the results of last week’s local-option sales tax election remain the same; Iowa City will implement the measure, Coralville will not.

In Tuesday’s Johnson County Board of Supervisors meeting, Auditor Tom Slockett told supervisors there were 12 absentee and four provisional ballots received by the Special Precinct Board. Nine of them will count in the official election result numbers.

Those votes will change the official numbers for the two biggest cities in the election. In Iowa City, the total rose by four for the tax and by three against it. In Coralville, the antitax vote went up by one vote, and the pro-tax count stayed the same.

The seven absentee and provisional ballots that will not count in the official results were either postmarked after the May 5 deadline, did not include a vote, were undeliverable, or were sent from a precinct in which the voter was ineligible, Slockett said.

The supervisors also canvassed the election’s votes by comparing the actual ballots with the electronic results during Tuesday’s meeting. The results stayed the same.

On May 5, 13 separate communities voted on an 1 cent local-option sales tax which will start July 1, 2009 and be in effect until June 30, 2013.

Slockett said it is still possible for voters to demand a recount, however. If 1 percent of registered voters — 73 in Iowa City, 20 in Coralville — sign a petition. In areas in which fewer than 1,000 people voted, a minimum of 10 signatures is required.

He added if a recount was requested, it would probably be insignificant.

“I don’t expect any changes to occur in the event of a recount,” Slockett said.

The proceeds from the 1 percent sales tax will go toward flood-relief projects in Iowa City and community projects in smaller Johnson County towns that voted for it. Communities that voted against it will not receive any money garnered from the tax.

Communities that rejected the tax could also request another election, Slockett said, with Aug. 4 being the earliest day that could occur. At this point, he has not received any requests for a recount or another vote.

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