NEW MADRID - The passage of a half-cent general revenue sales tax is an opportunity for the county to move forward, said First District Commissioner Mark Baker as the final votes were tallied.
New Madrid County voters approved the tax Tuesday by a vote of 890 in favor to 681 votes opposed to the tax. A simple majority was needed to approve the tax.
"I want to thank all the yes voters," continued Baker. "We have a chance to do good things now for New Madrid County.
Presiding Commissioner Clyde Hawes added the passage of the tax is an asset not only to the county but also for the local communities. The commissioners have pledged 25 percent of the revenue raised by the tax to be divided by the incorporated communities in the county.
Matthew Mayor Gene Curtis, who also watched as the votes were counted Tuesday evening, described the passage as a real boon to small towns. He added he would like the Matthews Board of Aldermen to consider a health plan for employees with some of the revenue, estimated at about $23,000 annually, the town will receive from the tax.
While the countywide tax proposal passed, a proposal to change the way the Lilbourn police chief is selected, from an elected to an appointed position, failed. Lilbourn overwhelmingly defeated the proposal by 23 yes votes to 98 opposed.
In a breakdown by precinct of the votes, according to unofficial tallies provided by New Madrid County Clerk Clement Cravens, the tally for the general revenue tax was:
Absentee, 23 yes, 7, no; Anderson 1 and 2, 44 yes, 21 no; Big Prairie 1 and 2, 62 yes, 28 no; Big Prairie 3, 13 yes, 21 no; Big Prairie 4, 8 yes, 35, no; Como 1 and 2, 49 yes, 26 no; Como 3 and 4, 71 yes, 22 no; Como 5, 13 yes, 5 no; Lafont 1 and 2, 19 yes, 50 no; Lafont 3, 4 yes, 27 no; Lesieur 1, 16 yes, 27 no; Lewis 1 and 2, 65 yes, 60 no; Lewis 3 and 4, 18 yes, 5 no; Lewis 5, 7 yes, 2 no; New Madrid 1, 71 yes, 31 no; New Madrid 2, 74 yes, 35 no; New Madrid 3, 78 yes, 34 no; New Madrid 4, 20 yes, 19 no; New Madrid 5, 12 yes, 17 no; Portage 1, 51 yes, 71 no; Portage 2 ,79 yes, 102 no; Portage 3, 31 yes, 9 no; West 1 and 2, 22 yes, 18 no; and West 3 and 4, 40 yes, 9 no.
The vote for the Lilbourn Police Chief issue was absentees, 1 yes vote and 4 no votes, with the Lewis 3 and 4 Precinct casting 22 yes votes to 94 no votes.
Cravens described Tuesday's election as running smooth overall, with only a few problems, primarily voters who failed to bring identification with them to the polls.