Homer will have its long-awaited new police station.
After 39 years, police officers in the city will get a building that has the capacity to fit their needs, and one that doesn’t flood from time to time. Proposition 1, which asked residents if they would allow the city to go out to bond to pay for the approximately $7.5 million project, passed in a special election Tuesday with 386 yes votes to 218 no votes. The vote also asked voters to approve a 0.35 percent sales tax increase to pay back the bond, which will help pay for construction.
Preliminary results released by City Clerk Melissa Jacobsen on Tuesday show 64 percent of the voters who turned out were in favor of the proposition, while only 36 percent were against it. The method the city council worked out for paying back the $5 million dollar bond — some of the funds are coming out of what the city has already saved up for a new station — includes raising city sales tax rate from 4.5 percent to 4.85 percent. This equates to an extra 35 cents for every $100 spent.
The majority of that added tax (0.30 percent of it) will be used to off the bond debt. That portion of the tax will also sunset on Dec. 31 of the year the city has raised enough money to pay it off. The remaining 0.05 percent of the added sales tax is going to stick around in order to pay for continued maintenance costs for the building.
There were 4,782 registered voters in Homer as of June 7, according to Jacobsen. A total of 604 people came out to vote in person, which equates to a roughly 12 percent voter turnout.
Ahead of Tuesday’s election, the city also received 169 absentee and special needs ballots that still need to be counted. There are also five ballots sent by mail or electronically yet to be counted. The difference between the “yes” votes and the “no” votes from in-person voting is 168. For the no votes to pull ahead, most of the uncounted ballots would have to be against Prop 1.
The special election canvass board counts the remaining ballots on Friday at City Hall.
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