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by Faith Ann Brown


VINTON - With a simple majority the voters in the Vinton Shellsburg Community School district approved a measure to extend the district's Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL).

The Benton County Auditor's office released the unofficial results of 383 yes votes to 108 no votes. Residents in the Garrison, Shellsburg and Vinton cast their ballots from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Results will not be final until after the next meeting of the Benton County Supervisors when the ballots are officially counted.

The school district has been able to utilize the PPEL fund for a number of decades. "The current levy is set to expire at the end of the fiscal year 2020 (June 30, 2020)," Mary Jo Hainstock, district superintendent, reminded board members earlier this fall.

Election results per city were:

Garrison: 'yes' 15 votes and 'no' 14 votes;

Shellsburg: '.

yes' 69 votes and 'no' 14 votes;

Vinton: 'yes' 264 yes and 'no' 53 votes;

Absentee: 'yes' 35 and 'no' 27 votes.

"I appreciate the 400+ people who turned out to vote. We will be able to maintain and improve our facilities, vehicle fleet and technology because of the vote’s success," Hainstock said after the polls closed Tuesday night.

With the positive vote, the PPEL will continue to generate $.134 per $1,000 through the combination of property tax and income surtax.

In the past, funds from the PPEL have helped the district with the purchase of buses and other district vehicles as well as construction of buildings, roof repair flooring and in particular this summer some asbestos removal.

“The thing we need to remember and make sure people understand,” Kathy VanSteenhuyse, board member, said earlier this fall “is that the PPEL fund is not used for any salaries. Those monies go directly into the upkeep of our buildings and facilities.”

Other projects financed with PPEL funds were to complete the parking lot at Tilford and also update the parking lot at Shellsburg Elementary.

Aside from repairing the parking lot, staff was also able to put in new fencing and gates.