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What’s on the ballot for Wapello County’s March 2nd Special Election

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 10:04 PM CST
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WAPELLO COUNTY, Iowa (KYOU) - Tuesday, the polls open back up for a Special Election involving three school districts in Wapello County.

This vote is largely about PPEL - the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy - funds.

John Berg, the CFO of Ottumwa Schools, says PPEL involves “funds to support the physical plant equipment in the district. So repairs and maintenance of buildings...as well as technology purchases.”

Voter-approved PPEL would actually be a big change for the Ottumwa Community School District.

Previously, a much lower, board-approved PPEL rate of $.33 per $1,000 property valuation brought in around $278,000 annually for the district.

However, the district still spends around $1.4 million on things PPEL could cover, such as building maintenance.

That subbed money comes in from the General Fund and Capital Projects.

A voter-approved PPEL would bring an additional $1.34 cents per one thousand. That would total to around $1.14 million to the PPEL fund each year.

Berg says this shifting of funds would “help fill the gap between what we have now and what we’re actually spending on those kinds of expenses.”

Berg says it also frees up the district to pursue larger, long-term planning.

General funds can’t be used in the same ways as PPEL funds.

Berg assures voters there won’t be any additional cost on property tax.

“Through reduction on other parts of the levy, we’re able to fit this PPEL in there, and we’re still expecting the total property tax ask of the school district to drop by 50 cents.”

The same PPEL vote is on the table for the Eddyville Blakesburg Fremont School district. It have a board-approved PPEL, and are looking for that additional $1.34 cents as well.

Cardinal School District, however, is just renewing their PPEL. They’ve had voter-approved PPEL for twenty years.

Both district superintendents say voters won’t see any increase to their property tax rate.

Both school boards also have votes to approve previously appointed school board members - to certify their positions.

Trevor C. Brown in the Cardinal district and Patti Maloy in E-B-F both are uncontested on the ballot.

Polls are open tomorrow at 7:00am and close at 8:00pm. Here’s a list of voting locations.

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