/ Modified nov 9, 2017 4:53 p.m.

Zoo Tax Measure Passes in Final City Vote Tally

Measure was too-close-to-call on election night.

zoo tax Lions lounge at the Reid Park Zoo. Visitors hope money raised from a sales tax proposal on the November ballot could expand the lion habitat.
PHOTO: Andrea Kelly, AZPM

When the last of the votes were counted from Tuesday's election, the one-tenth-of-a-cent sales tax for zoo improvements passed.

Propositions 202 and 203 were the measures on the ballot to authorize the city to use sales tax for zoo improvements, and then to create the tax to be used for those. They both had to pass in order for the measure to take effect, and this week one of them was too close to call until final votes were tallied.

Prop. 202 passed with 53 percent of the vote, and Prop. 203 passed with 50.4 percent of the vote.

Zoo officials say funds raised through the sales tax proposal would go toward replacing and repairing old infrastructure. Supporters estimate the tenth-of-a-cent tax would provide between $8 million and $10 million to the zoo each year.

The tax is temporary, and expires in 10 years.

The money will help pay for improvements like a new sewer line and the master plan.

“That has things like tigers crossing overhead trails, that gives our animals more space,” said Nancy Kluge, with Tucson Zoological Society.

The Pima County Republican Party was the leading the opposition to all of the proposed sales tax increases on the November ballot.

David Eppihimer, Pima County Republican Party chairman, said before the election that the party's opposition wasn’t based on the issue, but rather the funding.

“We came out against it because we’re basically against all sales tax increases. If those pass and [preschool funding Prop.] 204 were to pass, we’d be over 9 percent,” Eppihimer said before the election. “It is a terrible burden on our city and our residents.”

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