Mount Vernon voters deciding $15.9 million school bond today

More than 800 votes cast as of 11 a.m.

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MOUNT VERNON — Voters in Mount Vernon are heading to the polls today to decide a $15.9 million bond question that would fund facility additions and renovations to the city’s schools.

If approved, the bond would increase property tax rates for residents in the Mount Vernon Community School District to about $20.47 per $1,000 assessed valuation — one of the highest rates in the state.

Polls are open at Mount Vernon City Hall, 213 First St. NE, until 8 p.m.

They opened this morning with about 400 absentee votes already cast, said JJ Breen, a Linn County elections systems administrator.

As of 11 a.m., 418 more votes had been cast.

“We had anticipated somewhere between 20 and 25 percent turnout, and right now we’re at about 16 percent,” Breen said.

Mount Vernon has about 4,500 residents.

Results of the vote are to be released shortly after 8 p.m.

The bond, which needs 60 percent approval to pass, would fund the construction of a new auditorium and athletics complex and several classroom renovations in the Mount Vernon school district, said Superintendent Gary O’Malley.

“We don’t think anything here is extravagant,” O’Malley said. “Instead, we think these are necessary upgrades that will reflect a real investment in this school district and this community.”

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