Leader Blues

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

TOP STORY>> Cabot voters say NO

IN SHORT: City must find other financing for overpass, community center.

By Joan McCoy
Leader staff writer

Cabot voters said no Tuesday to a millage increase that would have paid for a community center and railroad overpass.

The vote on the railroad overpass was 537 against and 493 for. The vote on the community center was 551 against and 475 for.

Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh said after learning the results of the election that he was both surprised and disappointed.

ďI think itís sad. I just really think itís sad. But the people spoke and you move on,Ē Stumbaugh said.

Residents were asked to increase their city property tax from 3.5 mills to 4.5 mills to raise $700,000 for the cityís part of the federally funded $5 million overpass and $2 million to help pay for a planned community center that came in over budget.

A month ago, Stumbaugh said if the voters turned down the millage increase, there would be no way to build the community center, and the overpass would have to wait until 2008. But that is no longer the case.

Aldermen Eddie Cook and Odis Waymack will sponsor an ordinance that will go before the council Monday night to ask voters to extend an existing one-cent sales tax to pay for a new sewer plant, the community center, overpass and a new animal shelter and provide about $2 million for street improvements.

Cook and Waymack are opposed to paying for the new sewer treatment plant by more than doubling sewer rates as the council plans to do.

Stumbaugh said Tuesday evening that an organized effort against the millage increase might have helped defeat it.

Cook, who has been the most outspoken about the proposed sales tax referendum he will co-sponsor with Waymack, said he knew of no organized effort, but he does believe voters are saying they donít want any new taxes.

Cook said he voted for the millage increase and he is shocked that it didnít pass, but he is aware that his ordinance to continue the existing tax now has a better chance of passing the council because the millage failed.

ďI hate it that it failed, but it does strengthen my ordinance incredibly,Ē Cook said.