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Fergus Falls referendum fails

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – Voters here Tuesday rejected a $5.5 million athletic facilities plan.

In complete but unofficial results, the referendum failed with 55 percent, or 2,107 voting “no.” Forty-five percent, or 1,700, voted for the plan.

A simple majority was needed for the referendum to pass.

Superintendent Jerry Ness said the district could not return to voters in 2013.

“The voters have spoken clearly on the project. We’ll have to reassess and go from there,” Ness said.

A similar project with a price tag of $6.4 million was defeated in the November general election.

Property tax bills would have been lower than now because the new levy would have replaced an older one. Taxpayers would have paid about $17.69 a year on a $100,000 home.

The old referendum expires this year. Taxpayers pay about $24.16 on a $100,000 home now after a 1994 referendum was used to build the science wing and the media center at the old high school.

The $5,475,000 plan would have revamped the bleachers and other athletic facilities at Kennedy Secondary School. The project included building two softball fields; eight tennis courts; a football/track/soccer complex with an eight-lane track and new, handicapped-accessible bleachers; expanded parking; expanded green space for physical education with an irrigation system; and an environmental learning area. To cut costs, a maintenance building and concession stand was combined.

Article written by Wendy Reuer of the Forum News Service

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