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Moniteau County voters, by a narrow margin, declined passage of a tax levy increase for the California Rural Fire Protection District in Tuesday's municipal election.

The ballot measure would have increased the district's current 20-cent tax levy to 80 cents to help replace outdated equipment and boost general operating revenue.

The increase would have been the first since the fire district's founding in 1998 and would have seen the district's budget balloon from just north of $100,000 to about $400,000 per year.

Just 16 of the 708 votes cast were the difference between the ballot measure's passage, with 51.13 percent of voters choosing "no."

The CRFD serves 2,465 residents in Moniteau County, with stations in California, McGirk, Clarksburg and Kliever.

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