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Voters say yes to local legislation
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Voters cast ballots on two pieces of local legislation last week concerning homestead exemptions.


Dawson County residents overwhelmingly approved both measures.


The first item asked voters if they wanted to raise the amount allowed under homestead exemptions for school district ad valorem taxes to $120,000 for those age 70 and older. It passed by nearly 82 percent.


The second ballot question examined the possibility of increasing homestead exemptions to $65,000 for the disabled or people 65 and older. It passed by nearly 78 percent.


Both ballot questions were presented by 9th District Rep. Amos Amerson, who has touted the passing of both in recent newspaper columns.


In Amerson’s column this week, he congratulated Dawson County voters “for passing senior citizen tax relief by 80 percent of the vote.”


According to Amerson, “more than one constituent has called me with a ‘yee-haw!’”


Prior to the special election, Dawson County School Superintendent Keith Porter urged voters to be cautious regarding the measure.


In a recent column, he stated that the exemptions “will result in an additional loss of funds for our children unless we raise property taxes for others.”


According to the column: “In the future, if this referendum passes, we will have to consider raising taxes, and the burden will shift more heavily to those who are younger in age.”


Following the election, Porter said he “understood that the referendum would, in all likelihood, pass by a substantial margin.


“It was our belief that the citizens simply needed to know the extent of reductions that we have been faced with and are currently addressing,” he said.


Porter referenced continued cuts at the state level that have affected the local system’s budget.


Last week’s special election occurred Nov. 2, in conjunction with the general election, because the two questions concerning homestead exemptions were omitted from the ballot.


The special election, which officials estimated cost the county an additional $13,000, required different ballots, separate voting equipment and more poll workers.