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Summary: Major Races in Today's Election
Here's a look at some of the key issues in today's election:
In Springfield District 186, there are four hotly contested races. Depending on the outcome of today's vote, the board could possibly see new members in subdistricts 1, 4, 5, and 7.
"I am hopeful, through the search process, which we expect to involve the community, the new board will have an opportunity to learn how to work together and do a better job of working together" board president Susan White said.
"I don't think all board members are always going to agree, but I think at least everyone can be civil to each other," former educator Mike Zimmers, who is running for a board position, said. "I mean, you are in the public eye. You are televised. There are a lot of people who attend these meetings, and I think it's all about being civil to each other."
Both candidates in Subdistrict 4 hope the new superintendent will work with the board on figuring out where to make cuts.
The six school districts in Christian County are looking for help from area residents to help pay for maintaining and upgrading their current facilities. Voters will be asked if the sales tax should be increased by one percentage point. Officials say that equates to an additional $1 for every $100 spent--all to help area school facilities.
In Morgan County, voters will decide whether they want to pay for a fire protection tax for the village of Murrayville. The Murrayville fire department and village leaders are asking voters to approve establishing a fire protection district. This would help pay for new equipment and training for area fire protection.
If the majority of the votes are "yes," property owners within 55 square miles surrounding Murrayville would be taxed for fire protection. It comes down to about $60 a year, depending on assessed value.
If passed, estimates show, a fire protection district could bring the struggling department $90,000 a year.
To give you an idea of how much that would mean to the department, last year, the department received only $3,800 from the village.
The Logan County Paramedics Association is looking to improve their current ambulance vehicles with help from area voters. If passed, the money would be used to repair old ambulances and to buy new ones.
Voters in the town of Atlanta will be weighing in on a property tax increase for the library. It's a 15-cent increase in property taxes. Library officials say they need to raise about $50,000 annually.
If the measure is approved, the money would be used to make repairs at the library, as well as upgrade technology.
Today's election may change how much people pay in sales taxes in the village of Jerome. Jerome residents will decide whether to take the sales tax up from 6.25 percent to 7.25 percent. Village board members said they will use the money to help improve Jerome's aging roads and the village's water supply.
"The biggest concern of the residents are the roads," Village of Jerome board member Mike Lopez said. "The roads, the roads, the roads."
"I just think it's a little bit ridiculous, just for living in this little village within Springfield," Jerome resident Cara Tripp said. "I just feel like we're getting taxed for that as well as many other things."
If the referendum passes, board members expect the city to bring in an additional $80,000 every year.
Outside the region: voters in Chicago will decide who will take over Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Senate seat. Tuesday's special election pits Democratic former state Rep. Robin Kelly against Republican community activist Paul McKinley.
Kelly is expected to win the election in the heavily Democratic district. She swept the February primary.
After resigning in November, Jackson pleaded guilty in February to charges that he mis-spent campaign funds.