Finney County voters will have 12 hours today, starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m., to make their voices heard at the polls.
With three ballot questions on the ballot — two school bond issues for Holcomb USD 363 and the other a proposed .3-cent countywide sales tax increase — and five local elections, voters have a lot to think about. Seats will be awarded to the top vote recipients in each election based on availability.
The proposed countywide sales tax hike would begin on April 1, 2018, and sunset in 2033 and would fund urbanized improvements to Jennie Barker Road, ongoing improvements to Lee Richardson Zoo, construction and operation of an 11,068-square-foot indoor shooting range intended for use by local law enforcement and the public, and construction, operation and maintenance of a 15,061-square-foot fire station on the city’s east side for use by the Garden City Fire Department, Garden City Police Department and Finney County EMS.
The increase would yield about $2.15 million annually to fund the balance of each project, which has been estimated at $18 million total. The sales tax increase would not affect property taxes.
Two bond items are up for a vote on the ballot for USD 363.
The first bond item includes funding for a collection of different projects at Wiley Elementary School, Holcomb Elementary School, Holcomb Middle School and Holcomb High School that would total $4,036,270 for facility upgrades and raise the district’s mill levy by 3.15 mills, costing the owner of a $150,000 home an additional $54.34 a year in property taxes while the owner of a $200,000 home would pay an additional $73.45 a year.
The projects include security camera additions at Wiley, as well as a remodel of the security office totaling $135,000. Also included is a remodel of the security office at Holcomb Elementary School, HVAC upgrades to the school’s southern wing, and storm shelter additions all estimated to total $1.27 million. The middle school’s upgrades would include a remodel of the security office and HVAC digital control upgrades to an antiquated system — all expected to cost about $58,000. Upgrades at the high school would include additional security cameras, HVAC upgrades, a storm shelter and wrestling room, and a new security office for a total of $2,240,000. All of those projects are up for a collective vote.
The second bond item includes funding for a proposed 14,500-square-foot standalone locker room facility to be located where the high school’s tennis courts currently are. The project is expected to cost $3,461,400. If approved, the district’s mill levy would increase by 2.65 mills and the owner of a $150,000 home would pay an additional $45.71 a year in property taxes, while the owner of a $200,000 home would pay an additional $60.95.
If both are approved, the district’s mill levy will increase by 5.8 mills and the owner of a $150,000 home would pay an additional $100.05 in annual property taxes, while the owner of a $200,000 home would pay an additional $134.40.
Three seats on the Garden City Commission are up for election, with seven contenders vying for three spots. Incumbent Melvin Dale and challengers Lindsay Byrnes, Keith Collins, John Hahn, Chris Hamlin, Pedro Rodriguez and Troy Unruh are the choices on the ballot. Commissioners Janet Doll and Chris Law are not seeking reelection.
Three seats on the Garden City USD Board of Education are on the ballot. Incumbents Lara Bors and Jean Clifford are vying to keep their seats and are joined by challengers Tim Hanigan, Jeff Sims and Alex Wallace. Gloria Hopkins is not seeking reelection.
The Garden City Community College Board of Trustees seats of Merilyn Douglass, Melvin Neufeld and Blake Wasinger are up for election, with all three incumbents running to retain their seats against challengers A. Leonard Hitz and David Rupp.
The Holcomb City Council seats of Ron Schreibvogel, Scott Homer and Mark Richmeier are up for election. Homer and Richmeier are not seeking reelection, and newcomer Sam Mesa is all but assured a spot on the council because available seats would go to the top three vote recipients and only he and Schreibvogel have filed.
The Holcomb USD 363 Board of Education seats of Kasey Robinson, Jill George and Matthew Jones are up for election, with all three seeking to retain their seats. Only Jones’ seat for position six is being challenged, by Cody Douglas.
Contact Mark Minton at email@example.com.