By Jolene Craig
Special to the Times
BELPRE - - Belpre voters chose to change things with new city council and school board members as well as the passage of local issues on Tuesday.
Incumbents Susan Abdella (R), 1,003 votes, and John Baker (D), 994 votes, were re-elected to their city council at-large seats while Bob Wallace (I), 883 votes, also was elected. Steven Roddy finished fourth with 837 votes.
"It's exciting," said Abdella when she heard she won. "There's a lot left to do for the city and I look forward to my third term."
Wallace, a former principal at Belpre High School, said he is now eight for eight in winning elections in the city.
"I look forward to being part of council and working for the good of the community," he said.
Baker was elected to his fifth term and said he looks forward to staying with a group that he has worked with for many years.
Mike Wile was re-elected to his third term on the Belpre City Schools Board of Education. He said he looks forward to continuing to work with the community.
Belpre firefighter Pat Taylor also was elected to the school board. A retired elementary school teacher and principal in Wood County, Taylor said his teaching and administrative background would help the Belpre school system.
Board president Bobbi Simmons, an incumbent, was defeated as a write-in candidate with 179 votes against Wile's 1,310 and Taylor's 1,343 votes.
Voters passed an alcohol issue, 238 votes to 103 votes, as well as issues for gas and electric aggregation for residents.
With the passage of the issue for the sale of beer to be consumed off premises in the 1A precinct, Go-Mart will likely go forward with its plans to purchase the former BP station at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Main Street as well as adjacent property along Washington Boulevard, officials have said.
According to Jacob Evans, the land lawyer for Go-Mart, the company plans to tear down the existing structures and build a facility.
If the issue had not passed, it is not likely the company would have purchased the property, Evans said.
Alcohol sales are important to the company because it allows it to compete with other gas stations and convenience stores in the city that also sell alcohol, he said.
According to the Ohio code, the C-1 permit on the ballot is only for the sale of beer, not for other beverages that would need other permits that include the C-2 permit, which is for the sale of wine and packaged mixed beverages such as wine coolers.
Voters in all precincts approved the opt-out electric, 1,025 votes to 654 votes, and natural gas, 1,038 votes to 645 votes, aggregation issues.
Vote totals for Belpre City Council candidates that ran unopposed are: 1st Ward Councilman Larry Martin, 232; 2nd Ward Councilwoman Debbie Marshall, 253; 3rd Ward Councilman Eric Sinnett, 386; 4th Ward Councilman Dewey Robinson, 370, and council president Will Neff, 1,250.
City officials running unopposed were Mayor Mike Lorentz, 1,419, and City Law Director Tom Webster, 1,314.