August 6, 2009

Voters Say No to Road Rock Tax, Yes to Health Ordinance

Just shy of 40-percent of registered voters in Scotland County went to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of two county issues.

The county sought and received an advisory opinion from county voters on whether or not the county should have a health ordinance regulating concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Just shy of 60 percent of the voters said yes, they want a county health ordinance, sending the county commission back to the drawing board.

There were 705 yes votes for the health ordinance and 504 no votes.

The advisory position actually was a no in four of the seven precincts, with the much larger East and West Jefferson Townships, which include the city of Memphis, ultimately deciding the issue in favor of the health ordinance. The East Jefferson, West Jefferson, Union, Miller and Vest Townships saw 477 yes votes cast to 276 no votes. Sandhill Township entered 50 yes votes and 41 no votes, and the absentee ballots had 65 yes votes and 43 no votes.

Thompson-Granger, Mt. Pleasant, Harrison and Thompson-Arbela townships all saw a majority of no votes on the issue but combined for only a 144-113 margin against the health ordinance.

Health ordinance 04-01 had been law in Scotland County from 2004 to 2008 when the county commission repealed it amidst pressure from constituents.

Now the commission will return to deliberation on a new health ordinance after a majority of county voters indicated they were in favor of such a measure.

The commission will also have to look at different avenues for funding road improvements in the county after voters failed to approve a tax increase for road rock.

The decision went down by a 2 to 1 margin with 807 no votes to 398 yes votes.

Proposition One had asked for the power for the county to raise the $0.25 per acre road rock tax on all agricultural land up to $1.00 per acre.

Proposition One was soundly defeated in the rural townships, including a 28-0 vote margin in Thompson-Granger township.

A total of 1217 ballots were cast from amongst the 3,113 registered voters in the county for a 39.1% voter turnout.

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