Four votes doomed Salem Township’s road maintenance levy Tuesday, according to unofficial election results.
Those results indicate 50.26 percent of voters, or 388 voters, voted against the additional tax levy while 49.74 percent, or 384 voters, voted for the levy. The five-year, 2.9 mill levy would have generated an estimated $163,575 annually toward road maintenance for the township, excluding the city of Urbana.
The township has attempted to pass the levy multiple times since 2010. The last levy failed in November 2015 by a vote of 53.54 percent to 46.46 percent.
With such a small margin of defeat, Salem Township Trustee Rick Clyburn said on Wednesday there is still a glimmer of hope that the levy could pass.
“It’s disappointing, but it’s a lot closer than it has been,” Clyburn said. “We also got to wait – there’s some provisional votes out and some absentee votes that aren’t in yet. We won’t know any results on that until March 28 so we’re still hopeful, we’re not out of the woods yet.”
The Champaign County Board of Elections will certify the votes on March 28. After the votes are certified, there has to be less than one half of one percent difference between the votes for an automatic recount to take place.
Clyburn said the township is in the process of trying to decide which roads will receive chip and seal this year. He said with the township’s budget, they anticipate being able to perform chip and seal on six and a half miles a year on a six year rotation to perform maintenance on all of the township’s roads.
The township is responsible for maintenance on 39 miles of roads.
Heading into Tuesday’s election, a strategy the township tried to implement was surveying residents to ask about the levy to see what issues they could iron out. Clyburn said this helped make the vote closer.
“Everybody mostly understands that you have to do upkeep on the roads, if you don’t they’re going to deteriorate beyond repair,” Clyburn said. “Once you explain where you’re at, what we’re faced with, the amount of money coming in to the amount of money it costs to do the job they’re pretty understanding beyond that.”
If the levy’s failure stands, Clyburn said, the township will continue speaking with residents and keep trying to pass the levy.
“We have to keep trying,” Clyburn said. “Not trying would be a disservice to the township.”
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.