In looking at the upcoming April 3 election ballot, many Vandalia area residents might notice the .35 cent levy per $100 assessed valuation for the Vandalia Special Road District.
This is the same item area residents have been asked at least five times to approve for the past 20 years as the measure must be passed by voters every four years.
The .35 cent levy funds approximately 50-percent of the district’s budget as the district maintains roughly 118 miles of country roads.
These are the same roads needing to be made accessible for farmers, emergency vehicles, and school busses.
Workers for the district point out that voters get tripped up on the language of the ballot and have voted it down only to turn around and approve it a few months later after realizing there is no new tax levy; they are just renewing an existing one.
In 2008, voters turned down a measure in April 245-238 then changed their votes when the initiative was back on the ballot in August. The measure then passed easily 289-167.
Officials say what inevitably causes confusion among some voters is the state-required wording of the ballot. Rather than stating that the proposal is a continuation of an existing funding mechanism, the ballot asks voters whether the road district shall be empowered to “levy an additional tax rate of .35 cents.”
It’s the phrase “additional tax rate” that typically raises the red flag for voters.
Those in the district say regardless of the ballot language, the measure deserves passage.