Final Result: Brown County Sales Tax fails
Brown County voters have rejected a 10-year, 1/2 percent sales tax that would have benefited Hiawatha Community Hospital and healthcare in Horton.
A voter turnout of 37.84 percent was reported for the special election held Tuesday, May 21. Out of a total of 2,224 ballots cast, the sales tax question failed by a mere 29 votes — with 1,126 residents, or 50.65 percent, voting no, and 1,097 or 49.35 percent voting yes.
Out of 18 precincts in the county, 10 voted yes — Hiawatha City Wards One, Two, Three and Four, Reserve, Hamlin, Hiawatha Township, Irving, Padonia and Robinson. Eight voted no — Horton City Wards One, Two and Three, Mission, Morrill, Powhattan, Walnut and Washington.
The election result was not final until the Brown County Commission canvassed the votes on Tuesday, May 28. At that time, commissioners considered 51 provisional ballots. Of the 51 provisional ballots, 26 were counted.
If it had been approved, the tax was expected to generate approximately $700,000 annually. Hiawatha Community Hospital would have received 80 percent of funds generated, while the City of Horton would have received 20 percent to be spent for the provision of healthcare services.
The sales tax increase would have been implemented on Oct. 1. It would have increase Hiawatha’s sales tax to 9.5 percent, and Horton’s sales tax to 10 percent. It also would have increased the sales tax for businesses within Sabetha city limits on the Brown County side to 9 percent. The rate is already 9 percent on the Nemaha County side of Sabetha, but is currently 8.5 percent on the Brown County side.