Sumpter Township voters approved 1 more mill for police protection with a margin of 15 votes at Tuesday’s election.
The vote was 527 yes and 512 no. There are 7,350 registered voters and 1,039 went to the polls, for a turnout of 14%.
The mood was tense at the clerk’s office as a small group of police officers and township officials paced waiting for results.
Trustee Peggy Morgan called contact people at the six precincts to get unofficial totals from poll workers at the voting machines after the polls closed at 8 p.m.
Morgan was the first to declare the victory – and later the clerk’s unofficial numbers agreed.
“Oh, God. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Sumpter people. Thank you, Sumpter people,” Morgan yelled out as she spun around with her arms out like a helicopter.
A relieved Police Chief Jim Pierce phoned Supervisor Johnny Vawters to give him the good news. Supervisor Vawter was sick in bed from the stress of township financial matters and the uncertainty of this election.
“This is the greatest thing to happen to Sumpter Township,” Vawters said to theIndependent. “I want to thank everyone who voted, and especially those who voted yes.
“I know it is tough for some people and times are hard – and they voted for us anyway,” Vawters said.
Trustee Morgan said Vawters hadn’t slept for two days and had to go home to bed earlier that day because he felt sick.
After phone calls were made to a series of friends and supporters, the police officers at township hall got down to the business of planning the menu for the victory celebration that was being scheduled for another day.
Last November voters approved a renewal of 2 mills for public safety by a 3 to 1 margin. Then it was found not to be enough because of falling township revenue.
Supervisor Vawters said he had to give the residents a chance to vote on an additional millage, instead of everyone just sitting back and watching the township go into receivership.