On second thought - or in this case, second vote - patrons of the Neligh rural fire district have changed their mind and will fund their local fire department.
Mail-in ballots from the special election were hand counted early this evening by the Antelope County Clerk's office. Clerk Lisa Payne said a majority of voters cast votes in favor of a levy override, which means they support funding the rural fire district.
Of the 224 ballots, 191 were in favor and 32 were against. One ballot was an undervote, which was blank. The votes are unofficial at this time.
Payne said the results will become official when canvassing board meets Wednesday morning.
In November, the override failed 148-119.
Neligh Fire Chief Mike Mortensen said he believed the response in November was not a true representation of how the rural district felt about funding the department.
"The rural board never thought they’d have to educate people, but you had the school bond issue, the ag society override, the jail and things,” Mortensen said. "A lot of people were upset about the funds that were being spent and just said no to everything, not realizing they were basically stopping their fire protection district.”
The Neligh Volunteer Fire Department is made up of 45 members - 35 on the city and 10 from the rural. When the fire department responds to calls outside of city limits, they depend on the rural levy.