Across the metropolitan area on Tuesday, voters gave mixed reviews to a variety of tax and bond proposals.
Belton schools, Cass County and the North Kansas City library system won approval of their proposals, but voters in Independence trounced a tax for police services. Proposals also lost in Peculiar and a Northland school district.
For the second time in three years, Independence voters rejected a ballot measure that would have paid for more police personnel. Seventy-two percent of voters said no, while only 28 percent voted yes.
Supporters said the property tax increase would have addressed a need long unmet, but critics said vague ballot language might not prevent revenue from being diverted for another use.
The tax was expected to generate about $3.7 million a year and fund 42 additional police positions: 34 sworn officers and eight civilians hired over the next three years.
In recent years, Independence officials and residents had discussed the need for more officers. Voters rejected a three-eighths-cent sales tax for police in August 2009; opponents called the proposal poorly timed.
The Belton School District got the green light Tuesday on its plan to transform the Freshman Center into the district's high school. Voters approved a $9.5 million bond issue to pay for two additions at the Freshman Center and to renovate Yeokum Middle School for technology and vocational education.
Under the plan, freshmen initially will join middle school students at the current high school. The long-term goal is to create a four-year high school when the current Freshman Center is expanded again.
The measure got 61 percent of the vote, receiving the required four-sevenths majority. It will increase the tax on a $100,000 home by $22.80 a year.
By a margin of 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent, Cass County voters said yes to a half-cent sales tax to pay for upgrading the county's 60-year-old emergency dispatch system.
Deputies sometimes have to use cellphones to communicate with dispatch because their radios won't work, officials said.
The tax will generate about $5 million yearly to pay for the $15 million project; it is to drop to an eighth-cent after four years.
Once again, voters in Peculiar decided against collecting an extra penny for every gallon of gasoline purchased locally. The money would have paid to improve streets.
The measure was supported by 60 percent of voters, short of the two-thirds majority required. The city has tried twice before to adopt its own gas tax but couldn't meet the two-thirds threshold.
North Kansas City
A property tax proposal to restore some public library services won, 63 percent to 37 percent.
The measure is expected to generate as much as $250,000 a year -- the amount the library has cut from its budget since 2008 when it began trimming staff and services. Those cuts included reducing full-time staff from 10 to four, eliminating some online research databases, reducing hours and cutting more than 20 percent of the new materials budget.
Platte County R-III
Voters turned down a levy increase to pay for a new elementary school, expansion of another elementary school, renovation of the high school and technology and security improvements across the district. The issue failed 55 percent to 45 percent.