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Deadline for ballots approaches

Ashland residents have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to vote on whether they want to renew the city's 5 percent sales tax on prepared food and beverages.

It's too late for voters to mail their ballots and be certain they will arrive by the 8 p.m. deadline on Tuesday. The ballots must be turned in by 8 p.m.; postmarks do not count.

Ballots can be dropped off 24 hours a day at a drop box behind the Ashland Public Library. An alley turns off of Gresham Street and leads behind the library. The ballot drop box is next to the regular book drop containers.

Also available is a curb-side drop box next to the Jackson County Elections Division at 1101 W. Main St., Medford. Use the left-hand lane on West Main Street to reach the drop box.

Both ballot drop boxes will be closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Owners and employees of restaurants, hotels and other businesses have banded together to oppose the tax, saying it harms their businesses and is unfairly focused on one segment of the community. Supporters note the tax reduces city residents' costs in paying off bonded indebtedness for a city sewage treatment plant and helps purchase and improve city parks. A vote in favor would renew the tax until 2030. The tax would sunset in December 2010 if it's not renewed.