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Races, issues in surrounding counties

October 15, 2011
By Ashley Rittenhouse ( , The Marietta Times

Voters in Monroe, Morgan and Noble Counties will decide next month on a number of different races, including township trustee and school board races, but they'll also vote on a variety of ballot issues.

Early voting began Oct. 4, with election day set for Nov. 8. Officials at all three counties' board of elections offices report that voting is going smoothly so far.

Monroe County

Voters in the Switzerland of Ohio Local school district will be asked to approve the renewal of a tax levy that raises funds for improvements and equipment for the schools in the district.

The proposed 2.5-mill tax levy is for three years.

"It is a permanent improvement levy, which means the money generated will be used for such things as textbooks, computers and buses," said Switzerland of Ohio Superintendent Larry Elliott.

Denise Stoneking, deputy auditor for Monroe County, said if passed, the tax levy would raise about $600,000 per year.

"For somebody with $50,000 property value, it's $25.68 per year," Stoneking said.

Nickala Myers, 63, of Woodsfield, said it's important to her that the issue pass.

"I still have grandchildren in school," she said.

Monroe County Board of Elections Director Betty Rousenberg said about 300 people have voted early so far.

"We're coming up about...where we usually are," she said.

Morgan County

Two separate proposed tax levy renewals for the Morgan County Board of Developmental Disabilities will appear on the November ballot there.

One is a proposed 1.28-mill, six-year levy, while the other is a proposed 1.97-mill, five-year levy.

"The 1.97 (mills) was originally passed for tax year 2002 and it generates $424,000 a year and (for) a $100,000 home is $45.46 a year," said Morgan County Auditor Gary Woodward. "The 1.28 (mills) was originally passed for tax year 2006 (and) it generates $294,000 a year and (for a) $100,000 home is $32.74 a year."

The proposed 1.28 mills levy is "for the purpose of providing programs and services for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities and provide for the acquisition, construction, renovation, financing, maintenance, and operation of mental retardation and developmental disabilities facilities operated by or contracted through the Morgan County Board of Developmental Disabilities," according to the ballot.

The proposed 1.97 mills levy is for the purpose of funding programs and services and for the acquisition, construction, renovation, financing, maintenance and operation for Mary Hammond Programs, according to the ballot.

McConnelsville resident Kathleen Brownrigg, 74, said she plans to vote for both.

"I know the Mary Hammond School...its a good thing (and) I don't know what they'd do without it," she said. "It makes the participants feel worth while and it helps their self-esteem."

The Morgan County Board of Elections was unable to provide early voting numbers.

Noble County

There are four issues Noble County voters will vote on in the November election. They include a tax levy that would provide funding for the Ohio Cooperative Extension Service, an issue that would raise funds for the operation of the county's 911 system, a tax levy that would provide funds for services for senior citizens and a tax levy that would provide revenue for the Noble Soil and Water Conservation District.

Laura Schafer, office administrator with the Noble Soil and Water Conservation District, said the levy for that office was first passed in 2002.

She said it's a renewal of a three-tenths mill levy, which would be in place five years, and would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 a total of $10 a year.

"(It raises) around $65,000 year and that's matched by the state typically on a one-to-one match," she said. "(The money is used) for the operating of the office - payroll, rental on the building, phone services, Internet service, truck fuel, things like that."

The 911 user fee issue proposes that 50 cents a month be added to the phone bills of county residents for the purpose of operating the county's 911 system. This is not a new issue being proposed, but rather a request to continue the fee.

Darlene Lovette, of Quaker City, said she's in favor of that particular issue.

"Our people around here have a remote area to go to and it's so hard for 911 to get here that when they do, we really appreciate them because they have a really tough job," said Lovette, 46.

Lovette said she also supports the proposed 1-mill, five-year tax levy for the Ohio Cooperative Extension Service.

Funds raised through that levy would go toward activities and programs related to 4-H, agriculture, natural resources, home economics and economic development.

"I hope the 4-H levy passes," she said. "I think it's a good thing for the's a good learning experience."

The proposed tax levy for senior citizens services is a renewal of a four-tenths mill levy. It would be in place five years and would raise almost $80,000 a year, according to the county auditor's office. The owner of a property valued at $50,000 would pay about $5 a year.

Donna Moore, director of the Noble County Board of Elections, said almost 300 people have voted early so far.

"We're a little slower than I feel we have been in the past few elections but the election is a little later in the month (so) that could be part of it," she said.



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