Leader Blues

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

TOP STORY >> Voters split on bonds

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

Like voters statewide, area residents rejected by a wide margin Ballot Question 1 on Tuesday, which would have given authority to the state’s Highway Commission to finance interstate maintenance through bond sales.

Voters in White, Lonoke and Pulaski counties also rejected the other statewide referendum, which proposed funding higher education through bond sales even though Jacksonville and Sherwood residents voted for it.

The college-funding proposal, with 99 percent of the state precinct totals in, was passing by just a few hundred votes.

In Lonoke County, voters rejected the highway bond plan with 1,670 votes, or 68.3 percent, against it, and 776 votes, or 31.7 percent for it. Voters in Lonoke County said no to the college funding with 1,405 votes, or 57.8 percent, against it and 1,025 votes, or 42.2 percent, for it.
White County voters rejected the highway plan with 1,625 against the idea and 927 for it. On the college funding proposal, there were 1,502 against it and 1,182 for it.

In Pulaski County as a whole, 62 percent of those who voted rejected the highway bonding authority, while 55 percent voted in favor of the higher education bonds.

Jacksonville voters turned thumbs down on the highway financing measure, even though it would not have increased the amount of taxes currently paid, by a vote of 1,394 to 996.

But the same voters approved the education funding by a margin of nearly three to two.

Results were similar in Sherwood, where voters were against the highway bond measure 765 to 654, but voted in favor of the education bond measure 918 to 505. The actual highway bond vote in Pulaski County was 11,229 against, 7,022 for, while voters there favored the education bonds question 10,023 to 8,225.

The $575 million road-repair measure lost in 63 of the state’s 75 counties.

The plan to refinance $100 million in higher education debt, plus borrow another $150 million for college and university construction and programs just squeaked out victorious.