November 13, 2008

Election: A 'General' disappointment

Hazen city Measure Nos. 1 and 2 fail

By Chris Gessele

As the Mercer County General Election results slowly emerged, two ballot issues were of primary focus among Hazenites: City Measure Nos. 1 and 2.

On those, Hazen residents voted "Not quite" and "We’re not sold."

City Measure No. 1

Hazen city Measure No. 1 would have allowed the Hazen City Commission to levy up to 5 mills on real property within Hazen to establish a permanent fire reserve fund for the purchase of equipment. Because it involved a mill levy increase, the issue needed 60 percent in favor to pass.

The vote didn’t even break even, with 701 opposed and 623 in favor.

"I’m disappointed," Hazen Fire Chief Tom Beery said. "If (the public) wants fire protection, there needs to be money set aside for future fire protection."

Beery felt the public wasn’t educated enough on the measure’s details and specifics. The reserve fund would be built up for future use, with monies put toward real department needs, he said. A new pumper truck for the department will eventually be needed to maintain adequate community protection – and with a roughly $250,000 price tag, it would be great to have some funds built up, he noted.

The same measure was also defeated in June’s Primary Election by a count of 202 votes in opposition, 198 in favor. The tally sounds close, but a 60 percent majority was required for the measure to pass.

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