The vote on whether to impose a half-cent sales tax county-wide to benefit the Hiawatha Community Hospital for the next 10 years is now only separated by two.
The Brown County Clerk’s office reported Friday that after counting of all mail-in ballots, the vote tally is now 1,270 No to 1,268 Yes votes. The county clerk’s office accepted mail-in ballots that were postmarked on or before Election Day until Friday and on that day seven additional mail-in ballots were counted.
On election night, Tuesday, Nov. 5, the final tally after counting all 18 precincts was 1267 No and 1264 yes votes.
The voting is still not complete — still to be counted are 40 provisional ballots at the Brown County Commission meeting on the morning of Nov. 18 when they canvass the ballots. A provisional ballot is used when there is a question about a voter’s eligibility at the time of voting.
This is the second time voters have cast their ballots on this countywide tax. In May, the same question was brought to voters in a special election. It was defeated by 29 votes at that time.
A half-cent sales tax could generate $750,000 to $800,000 in annual revenue countywide. Hospital officials say they need up to double that amount yearly to catch up on equipment and facility upgrades.