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City officials pleased with bond outcome

Last Tuesday, March 7, the City of Mount Ayr held a special election looking to extend its bond referendum that is set to sunset in 2027.
There were two measures on the ballot for Mount Ayr residents to consider.
Measure A read “Shall the City of Mount Ayr, in Ringgold County, State of Iowa, enter into a loan agreement and issue general obligation bonds in an amount not exceeding $2,000,000 for the purpose of paying the cost, to that extent, of constructing, furnishing and equipping a public swimming pool?”
Unofficial results showed that measure A passed with a total number of 289 votes. 200 voted yes, 89 voted no and there were three undervotes.
Measure B read “Summary: To authorize imposition of a local sales and services tax in the City of Mount Ayr, Iowa at the rate of one percent (1%) to be effective from July 1, 2027. A local sales and services tax shall be imposed in the City of Mount Ayr, Iowa at the rate of one percent (1%) to be effective from July 1, 2027. Revenues from the sales and services tax shall be allocated as follows: 0% for property tax relief, the specific purposes for which the revenues shall otherwise be expended are: Not less than 25% – Design, construction and operation of a public swimming pool/aquatic center.
“Not more than 75% – Street improvements, economic development and housing or any other development and housing or any other lawful pupose of the City as determined from time to time by the City Council.”
Measure B passed with 217 YES votes and 72 NO votes, along with three undervotes.
City of Mount Ayr supervisor Brent Wise stated the city is pleased with the outcome and shows that the residents of Mount Ayr do want a pool.
The current pool was built in 1962 and in current years has struggled to stay open after equipment failures and leaking have caused headaches for the city.
The bond referendum gives the city the ability to bond $2 million towards a new pool, however, city supervisor hopes to not have to bond more than $1.3 million, which would be complimented with three grants.
The grants would be written with the help of JEO Services, the engineering firm that is working with the city on the pool project. The grant writing service is included in their fee at no extra cost.
If no grants are secured, the city would have to use the entire amount of the bonds, however, Wise believes it is still possible to achieve as two local contractors have agreed to do an extensive amount of inkind to help make it a reality.
“Our council now has a choice to make,” said Wise. “We can now move forward with a decision on an outdoor pool or they can choose to use that money towards the hybrid pool system.”
The hyrbid pool systeym would be included with the Gold Center, if the council chose to go that route, however, no timeline was known about that facility.
If the outdoor pool was the choice, Wise sees the earliest completion of the pool as early August 2024.
“The reason for that timeline is reliant on grants,” said Wise. “With these grants you can’t receive money if you have already broke ground.”

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