Taking steps for recount of road district tax levy votes

The Audrain County Commission is taking steps to call for a recount of the votes cast on the issue concerning the Audrain Common 1 Special Road District 35-cent Tax Levy. The question drew a 102 to 102 tie in the General Municipal Election held earlier this month.
Audrain County Presiding Commissioner Steve Hobbs said Tuesday that this is the first time the commission has ever seen this happen. He said the county plans to petition the court to allow a manual recount, and they are "in the process of doing that now."
County Clerk Shelley Harvey said Tuesday that she expects the court's decision by the middle of next week.
Harvey said part of the petition request would be to ask the court to hear the request as soon as possible, to beat the May 28 deadline to have information verified and placed on the August ballot.
Hobbs said the Audrain Common 1 Special Road District 35-cent Tax Levy has been in place "a long time," and that the levy is used to fund the maintenance of the county's 500 gravel roads. If the issue fails, he said, "it will cause a significant budget shortfall," and affect the county's ability to do maintenance on its gravel roads.
Harvey believes the levy has been in place at least 30 years. She said the county is required by law to renew the levy, by the vote of the people every four years. The law also forbids a county to promote or advertise its own issues.
"This (tax levy) is nothing new. It's been in place for a long time. It's how we fund the maintenance of our county roads," Hobbs said. "If the results are still negative we will be forced to put it on the ballot in August.
"We're hoping voters will see fit to let us have it," Hobbs said.
"If we don't get the issue on the August ballot, then we won't be able to levy that tax for the 2013 tax year," Harvey said.
If the recount results in the issue passing, no further action is required. If the tie stands, Hobbs said the county will take the issue back to the citizens to find out why they didn't support it, and to provide more education about levy.