Early Voting Now Under Way For Override Election

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With early voting now under way and requests for mail-in ballots being processed by Gila County officials, activities related to the school override election are increasing.

The county, which is conducting the election, announced that registered voters can vote early in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until May 14 at the Payson Office of the Gila County Recorder. Some information printed in the pamphlet is incorrect, however, including the address of the office and the toll-free number to call for more information.

The pamphlet indicated the Recorder's office is located at 201 N. Colcord. The correct address is 201 W. Frontier (on the southwest corner of W. Frontier and S. Colcord).

Eleven people voted on Friday, April 16, the first day for in-person early voting, according to Dorothy Hydeman of the Recorder's office.

Meanwhile, requests for early mail-in ballots have been extremely heavy, according to Craig Swartwood, head of Payson Kids Count, an organization working for passage of the override. Swartwood's group mailed yellow brochures with early ballot request forms, and he said the return rate has been extremely high.

Eligible voters also can request an early mail-in ballot by calling one of the phone numbers below. The last day to request an early mail-in ballot is May 7. The last day to return an early ballot in-person is May 14, while the last day to return an early ballot by mail is 7 p.m. May 18.

Residents who choose to vote in person on election day, May 18, will vote at two consolidated precincts: Payson First Assembly of God for precincts 1, 3, 7 and 8, and Mount Cross Lutheran Church for precincts 2, 4, 5, 6 and Star Valley. Voters in Whispering Pines, Zane Grey and Gisela must vote by mail.

The Payson Unified School District board is asking voters to approve a 10-percent override for seven years, which would raise an estimated $1,242,032 for the 2004-05 school year. The levy would be in place for seven years.

The board has prepared two budgets, one with the override money included and one without. Cuts if the override fails will include the middle school nurse, several librarians, and a total of 18 staff positions, including 16 teachers.

The average taxpayer who lives in a house with a full cash value of $116,000 would see an annual tax increase of $63 if the override passes. The additional tax on a house valued at $58,000 would be $31, while a $232,000 house would be assessed an additional $126.

Because businesses are assessed at 25 percent of full cash value, a business valued at $270,000 would see a tax increase of $368.

Call the PUSD superintendent's office with general questions at (928) 474-2070. The correct toll-free number for information is (800) 291-4452.

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