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Voters generous, to a point

Most issues find favor at polls, except for the schools

November 6, 2013
By JO ANN BOBBY-GILBERT - Staff Writer (jgilbert@mojonews.com) , Morning Journal News

LISBON - Voters were generous Tuesday with most tax issues on the ballot except school issues, all of which failed, according to unofficial results from the Columbiana County Board of Elections.

Columbiana voters defeated a 1.2-mill bond issue with 53 percent of the voters opposed and 47 percent in favor. A portion of the district lies in Mahoning County, but those results were not yet compiled.

The district began seeking the bond in August of 2012 for repairs to South Side Middle School, citing a decline in state funding as one of the reasons.

The district wanted to use the additional tax money to replace the leaking roof over the 50-year-old building on Columbiana-Waterford Road, and make other necessary improvements, including handicap accessibility.

At that time the bond was 1.237 mills over 29 years and appeared on the August special election ballot, but was defeated.

The board approved putting the bond issue on the May primary election ballot, but it was defeated again by 129 votes.

Still optimistic, the board approved putting the bond on the Nov. 5 ballot, this time for 1.228 mills over 29 years.

Although the millage decreased since the first try, the elimination of the 12.5 percent rollback included in the state biennial budget resulted in a $2.70 increase to taxpayers in Columbiana and Mahoning counties for an annual cost of $21.53 for the owner of a $50,000 home.

The district spans both counties and was rejected by voters in both counties.

In the United Local School District, voters also defeated a 3-mill permanent improvement levy that would have generated $376,700 annually.

The same proposal failed by 200 votes in May, and on Tuesday it failed by 332 votes, with 905 voters, or 42.25 percent in favor and 1,237, or 57.75, opposed.

Voters in the West Branch Local School District also defeated a 0.75 percent income tax issue that would have generated nearly $2 million annually, the first new operating dollars sought by the district since 1997.

According to unofficial results, 1,425, or 75.96 percent, of voters opposed the income tax, with 451, or 24.04 percent, in favor.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Weingart expressed disappointment in the outcome of Tuesday's election, but acknowledged that passing a levy is a process, and heavy lifting when the district hasn't passed a new money levy in over a decade, and that this result gives the administration and school board a starting point for moving forward.

"This vote tells us we have more work to do and it tells us we have more opportunity to have conversations with the community," he said. "The district's financial need is very real, and the sense of urgency is very real. West Branch cannot continue operating with a deficit (spending) and declining revenue from the state."

Weingart thanked those who voted for the levy and encouraged those who didn't to enter into a dialog with administrators and school board members to make sure all their concerns and questions are answered.

Of the other 19 money issues on the ballot, all but one were approved by voters on Tuesday.

Defeated was a 2-mill road levy for St. Clair Township, with 694, or 58.22 percent, of voters opposed to the measure and 498, or 41.78 percent, in favor.

In Salineville, a new 3-mill police levy passed by just 17 votes, with 151 voters, or 52.98 percent, in favor and 134 voters, or 47.02 percent, opposed. Village voters also supported renewals of a 3-mill current expense levy and 2-mill cemetery levy.

Wellsville voters overwhelmingly approved renewal of a 1-mill cemetery levy, with.

Other issues supported by voters included renewal of a fire protection levy in East Palestine; an additional fire protection levy in New Waterford; a fire truck levy and fire protection levy renewal in Center Township; fire protection levy renewal in Franklin Township; fire protection levy renewal in Homeworth Fire District; fire protection levy renewal in North Georgetown; fire protection levy renewal in Salem Township; and fire protection levy renewal in Yellow Creek Township.

Liquor options were also approved across the board by voters, who supported options for True North (beer and Sunday sales); Traxx General Store (beer sales); Salem Get Go (M-S alcohol sales) and Salem Get Go (Sunday alcohol sales).

 
 

 

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