Gage County voters gave wide approval to a $5.64 million bond issue to resurface and build approximately 30 miles of blacktop roads in the county during a special election Tuesday.
The unofficial results from Tuesday's nights election indicate 3,590 voters -- more than 61 percent of the returned ballots -- approved the project while 2,212, or 39 percent, were opposed.
More than 5,800 ballots were returned in the special election.
Board Chairman Matt Bauman said he believed the bond would pass by a 60-40 margin, but talked to several voters who felt more strongly about its chances in the special election.
“People saw it as an infrastructure issue and had a lot of positive comments,” Bauman said. “The people who were against it had reasons to be against it, but I felt pretty good about it and there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of spirited opposition.”
Bauman said the previous road bond issue passed in 1998 was also well-received by the county, whereas a jail bond issue in 2009 was not necessarily seen as a public infrastructure project.
“People are more agreeable to spending money into infrastructure they are going to be using themselves,” he said.
Supervisor Myron Dorn, who serves on the board's road and bridge committee and was present at the courthouse Tuesday evening, said his confidence in the bond issue grew over time.
"The response that we've had during this last three weeks has been very positive." said Dorn, who represents the Adams and Filley areas. "I've felt better as the election went along."
Dorn said a lot of voters called to simply ask questions about the bond issue.
"I'm surprised and thankful people took the interest they did," he said.
The 10-year bond will pay for approximately 30 miles of brand new roads and road reconstruction throughout the county.
Those roads include:
*Two miles of new 8-inch concrete construction on South 66th Road from East Sargent Road to Highway 136 for $1,069,390. The two mile stretch will connect to a previously paved stretch of road.
*10.2 miles of 2.5-inch to 4-inch mill and overlay on East Plum Road from South First Street in Wymore to Liberty for $2,071,011.10.
*Six miles of 2.5-inch mill and overlay on West PWF Road from the Jefferson County line to the Odell North blacktop for $734,434.50.
*13 miles of 2.5-inch (south half) to 3-inch (north half) mill and overlay on the Filley-Adams blacktop (134th Road and 148th Road) for $1,746,173.50.
The roads were selected following a study completed by Mainelli, Wagner & Associates at the request of the board.
Bauman said the board’s road and bridge committee, consisting of supervisors Terry Jurgens, John Hill, Dorn and Bauman, will meet with Highway Superintendent Galen Engel, consultant Mark Mainelli and bonding agent Mark Munford to discuss a bid letting process.
Tuesday’s special election fell short of the 2009 special election in terms of voter turnout.
According to Election Commissioner Dawn Hill, 41 percent or approximately 5,800 ballots of the nearly 14,000 ballots were returned for Tuesday's special election. That figure does not include provisional ballots.
In 2009, more than 7,500 ballots were returned in the special jail bond issue election, where nearly 80 percent of voters struck down the $11.4 million, 85-bed facility.