Voters approved a ballot proposal to double Linn County’s E-911 surcharge Tuesday.
According to unofficial results, nearly 60,000 residents voted in favor of the measure, which will increase the county’s monthly landline surcharge to 50 cents.
The relentless growth of wireless technology is behind Linn County’s ballot proposal to increase the monthly landline surcharge. Officials said the increase will counter the loss of landlines to cellphones and equip the system to better handle emergency calls from cellphones.
Eighty percent of Iowa counties have a $1 monthly land line surcharge — the amount rejected by Linn County voters in 2010. Two years later, 57 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of a lesser surcharge, while 43 percent of the county’s residents voted against it.
Meanwhile, Independence voters soundly defeated a $1.95 million bond issue to fund construction of a new city hall.
This price tag includes land acquisition, construction and furnishing of the proposed 5,700-square-foot, one-story building with a basement.
City officials acknowledged that the proposal would be a hard sell to residents who recently indebted themselves to build a new school and law enforcement center. In September 2011, voters in the Independence school district passed a $12.5 million bond to build a new junior-senior high school, and Buchanan County residents in 2007 approved a $4.5 million bond for the new jail and law enforcement center.
The measure needed 60 percent approval to pass, but unofficial results showed only 865 people — 29 percent — of residents voting in favor of the bond issue. Another 2,110, or nearly 71 percent, voted against it.
The small town of Hills had better news Tuesday night. According to unofficial results, 74 percent of voters approved a ballot measure to install a public water system, with 26 percent of residents voting against it.
The issue has been a concern for this community for almost a decade. The Environmental Protection Agency discovered the chemical perchlorate — which can hinder hormone production in the thyroid — in some of Hills’ drinking water in 2003.
Since then, the city has been working toward a solution.
City leaders say a public water system will ensure clean water for its residents and make the town more attractive to developers and small business owners.
The town operates on wells, and residents pay only for the electricity it takes to run the water to their home.