Archive for Thursday, May 18, 2006

Voter registration drive begins

May 18, 2006

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty and Eudora City Councilwoman Lori Fritzel sat outside Eudora Middle School last Saturday morning flanked by pictures of a proposed $3.8 million pool and recreation center.

In the middle school building, the Eudora Parent Teacher Organization ran its annual carnival for youngsters.

The event was a strong draw for Eudora's younger adults and adult crowd and a perfect spot for Beatty and Fritzel to set up shop. In all, the event had balloons, inflatable rides, snacks and a voter registration drive.

At the table, Beatty and Fritzel informed people about the Aug. 1 referendum for the pool and recreation complex project, but more importantly tried to give people the ability to have a say, Beatty said.

The table will be the first of many attempts to increase the registered voter rolls before the July 12 voter registration deadline.

"Over the weekend, we got 23 new registered voters," Beatty said. "We thought that was a very good thing."

Although city officials can't work to officially influence the outcome of a vote, giving people the ability to make a decision is still very important, Beatty said.

"You need to encourage them to voice their opinion, whether it is a 'yes' or 'no,'" Beatty said.

The goal falls in line with the aims of a citizen committee in charge of refining the recreation complex's concept and its promotion in the coming months.

During initial meetings, members of the committee ---- which Beatty helped organize ---- stressed issue awareness. Low voter turnout was a key issue in the last election.

In 2004 voters said 'no' to a new pool on two separate referendums. On the second referendum, only 670 voters cast votes on what would have been a $2.25 million project. The turnout represented only 28 percent of Eudora's overall voting pool of about 2,000 homes.

For the current voter registration, drive the city is looking to register 650 to 700 voters, Beatty said.

"That would be a good turnout for Eudora, whether it be yes or no," Beatty said.

The table Saturday succeeded in its aim of registering new voters, but Beatty and Fritzel also took the time to educate the public on the general parameters of the project.

In August Eudora residents will decide whether to approve a $3.8 million bond issue, to be retired through a half-cent sales tax and a probable 1- to 3- mill tax increase, Beatty said.

The scope of the project will include a fully revamped swimming pool ---- in the same location as the city's current pool ---- with a zero-point depth entry and a water slide.

In addition to the pool, the bond would build a new community center with a regulation size basketball court, lobby and rentable meeting areas, Beatty said.

Beatty took feedback on the project from her time at the table.

"The reaction was positive from the registered voters, and those who were registering said 'what a great facility,'" Beatty said.

The only negative comment came from a citizen who asked if the project was big enough, Beatty said. After she explained the complex was with an eye to future expansion citizen was satisfied, she said.

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