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Des Moines, Polk County reject merger

Des Moines, Polk County reject merger

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DES MOINES (AP) - For the second time in 10 years, voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to merge Polk County and Des Moines governments.

The unofficial vote was 65 percent against the merger to 35 percent in favor, a nearly identical margin as a similar plan was defeated in 1994.

The plan was defeated by nearly a 2-1 ratio in Des Moines and was defeated in all but 10 of Polk County's 186 precincts.

Opponents, led by former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell, campaigned largely behind the concerns of Des Moines residents, many of whom worried that the merger would give suburbs too much control over city spending.

Former Des Moines Mayor Preston Daniels first proposed the merger idea and had been one of its most ardent supporters.

Des Moines City Councilman Tom Vlassis said that while the proposal was rejected, the forces behind it will likely re-emerge.

"Two years from now, they'll be back with another" proposal, he said. "It's inevitable."

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