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Thursday, April 11, 2013 11:04 am

DEMOCRACY IN JEROME

The Springfield School Board is an exercise in chaos. The Springfield Park District is without an executive director or solid finances. You wouldn’t know it from turnout at this week’s election, when fewer than 20 percent of registered voters bothered to cast ballots. After all, who cares about parks or schools?

But bad roads and months of small-town politics are a different matter entirely. Just look at Jerome, where more than 40 percent of registered voters on Tuesday negotiated some of the worst potholes in the county to take advantage of their rights as Americans.

It ain’t Mayberry, but the beleaguered village, where federal auditors descended last year to probe alleged misappropriation of federal grant monies, is an engaged body politic. Voters chose three new village board members, all newcomers, and a new mayor. And there was no shortage of candidates, with seven people vying for three open spots on the board.

Voters also chipped at the village’s reputation as a land of low taxes by voting to raise the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 7.25 percent. The extra money is tagged for infrastructure improvements, and the margin wasn’t close, with nearly 77 percent of voters approving the hike. Those of us who use Iles Avenue as a shortcut between MacArthur Boulevard and Chatham Road are grateful.
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