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Ontario sales tax flops and service cuts loom

Karen Pugh verifies ballot signatures Tuesday afternoon at the Malheur County Clerk's Office. Voters rejected a 1 percent sales tax proposal for Ontario Tuesday night. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

UPDATE: This story has been updated with final unofficial returns.

ONTARIO – Surprising no one, Ontario voters have decisively defeated the proposed 1 percent sales tax.

The final unofficial count released by the Malheur County Clerk's Office as of 1 a.m. Wednesday was 1,581 no, 825 yes. That's 66 percent to 34 percent. That represents about a 44 percent turnout of Ontario's 5,449 voters.

In a twist, voters also overwhelmingly decided to change city law to require a public vote to raise a sales tax above 1 percent. That provision in the city charter will go unused for . . .