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Decatur voters reject water district prop

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, November 10, 2018
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Voters in Decatur narrowly rejected a proposition to tax property newly-annexed into the Wise County Water Supply District.

The proposition failed by a vote of 777 to 735, or 51 percent to 49 percent.

Decatur City Manager Brett Shannon said the ballot language might have confused some voters.

“Obviously I’m disappointed,” Shannon said. “I think people didn’t understand what they were being asked to cast their ballot for.”

The ballot language reads, “That the entire Wise County Water Supply District, as presently enlarged, shall assume all of the tax-supported bonds now outstanding; and that the said Wise County Water Supply District is authorized to levy an ad valorem tax upon all of the taxable property within the District, as presently enlarged, for the payment thereof.”

Voters were then prompted to vote “for” or “against.”

Each time the city annexes land into the city, they are required to hold an election to expand the water district, which shares the same boundaries as the city, in order for the newly annexed area to pay taxes into the water district.

The ballot measure does not affect the tax rate.

Tuesday’s election was made necessary by a voluntary annexation of 3 acres at 1101 Fortenberry Road earlier this year. Jody Forman and LaDonna Wren requested the city annex the land.

Shannon said not only will the water district not be able to tax the newly-annexed land, but the district will not be able to provide water service to those 3 acres, either.

The water district proposition last appeared in last November’s election. The measure passed, but only by 11 votes, 77 to 66. Tuesday’s election was the first time the proposition had failed to pass.

The Wise County Water Supply District was formed in the 1950s, and it’s responsible for funding water system improvements through bonds.

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