Fairway voters overwhelmingly approved a new bond issue and a sales tax increase in a mail ballot election that closed on Tuesday. More than 73 percent of those voting in the election approved the proposal.
“It’s a tremendous relief,” said Fairway Mayor Jerry Wiley. The final vote count was 828 in favor of the bonding and tax and 306 voters opposed for a margin of 73 percent to 27 percent. Of the 3,003 eligible voters in the election, 1,135 returned the mail ballot for a turnout of 37.8 percent.
The vote approves selling up to $3.95 million in bonds to build a new public works building and to make improvements at the city’s swimming pool. It also authorizes a half-cent increase in the city’s sales tax to pay off the bonds.
The sales tax is scheduled to start on October 1 and expire in 20 years. Wiley said the city would like to move to a bond sale as early as possible, perhaps this summer, to take advantage of low interest rates. Depending on final construction estimates and interest rates, Wiley hopes the actual bonds issued will be below the amount authorized by voters.
The next step, Wiley said, is to “sharpen our pencils” and get the projects ready to bid. The pool plans are farther along, he said, because the master plan has been in progress for a long time. An accelerated schedule, the mayor said, would see pool work start as soon as it closes for the 2014 season and be ready with the improvements for the start of the 2015 season. “That would be our aggressive plan.”
The city held two public forums on the tax and bonds, but attendance was low. “We didn’t have a whole lot of feedback,” Wiley said. “I am very happy. This gives us a lot of opportunity moving forward.”