Tax levy fails in Mari-Osa Fire Protection District

Voters in the Mari-Osa Fire Protection District rejected a proposal Tuesday to establish a property tax levy of up to 30 cents per $100 assessed valuation to fund firefighting operations.

The district encompasses 102 square miles in northern Maries and southern Osage counties, including Belle and surrounding rural areas.

The issue failed with a total of 224 "no" votes to 208 "yes." Osage County voters turned down the proposal 157 "no" to 150 "yes," with Maries County voters casting 67 "no" votes and 58 "yes."

The fire department is currently funded from two sources - city taxes inside Belle and voluntary fees from rural members outside the city. The levy would have established a district-wide property tax in their place.

In school districts based in Maries County, Vienna R-1's ballot featured five candidates running for three school board seats, while four candidates competed for three board positions in the R-2 district covering Belle and Bland. The top three vote-getters in each race earned three-year terms on their respective boards.

In the R-1 district, the three winners and their vote totals were Victoria Bade, 207; Penny Schoene, 204; and Cindy Petershagen, 213. Trailing were Regina Kilmer with 129 and Robin Helton, 116.

At R-2, the combined vote count from Maries, Osage and Gasconade counties totaled: Garret Bialczyk, 420; Amy Kiso Bledsoe, 380; and Brent Stratman, 385. Anthony Baretich trailed with 285 votes.