Graham tax fails narrowly; Urbana city tax fails by large margin; Corbett, Vitale, Jordan win

Local voters in Tuesday’s primary were in no mood for new taxes and preferred incumbents, according to unofficial final results released by area boards of elections. Final tallies will be certified May 24.

Although the gap from November 2017’s 60/40 percentage failure narrowed considerably, Graham voters said no for a second time to a 1 percent, 5-year new earned income tax by a tally of 1,740 against and 1,645 in favor, including votes from Shelby County. The tax was expected to generate $1.9 million annually for five years.

In the event that the levy failed, Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said school transportation would be greatly affected.

“The defeat is very tough but we have to respect the outcome of the vote,” Koennecke said Tuesday night. “We’ve run a very lean budget and we reduced and stretched that budget over many years and now we’re going to have to make some further cuts, $1.5 million which our board will act on in order to move forward. It’s heartbreaking for staff members and I’m sure it’s going to negatively impact many, many families who we provide services to.”

Koennecke thanked volunteers and community members who supported them over the last six months. Regarding placing an issue on an August special election ballot, Koennecke said: “It’s too soon to discuss the future levy and what the board will do. We’re going to take some time now to study the vote and analyze the results and work with our community to move forward and we’re going to ask all of our community to really examine our priority together and our need did not go away with this loss.”

On the Urbana emergency services 1 percent replacement tax for an existing levy to specifically fund emergency services, the levy failed 1,067 votes to 558.

“It’s been 26 years since there’s been an attempt to put this on the ballot,” said Urbana Director of Administration Kerry Brugger on Tuesday night. “The voters have spoken, obviously either they don’t think there’s a need or watching some of the news releases around the state people are speaking up and saying there’s enough taxes. At this point I think we revisit it and talk to council and see what their pleasure is to move forward.”

On the electric and gas aggregation issues in Urbana, voters narrowly approved both by 52/48 percentage margins.

“I think people see the value in that and it’s an opportunity for the consumers then to hopefully see a little savings in their monthly utility bills going forward down the road when all this gets settled out,” Brugger said.

Ohio Hi-Point Career Center’s 0.6-mill permanent improvement issue results were close but incomplete as of Tuesday night with Auglaize County numbers still unavailable. It is the facility’s first request for additional taxpayer money in more than 40 years. It failed in Champaign County by a percentage of 55-45, but passed in Logan County by a 55-45 percentage, passed in Union County by a 54-46 percentage and passed in Hardin County by a 60-40 percentage to give it a lead in the overall vote tally. If approved, the funds would be used renovate the career center’s 43-year-old building to provide students advanced technical training. The cost to taxpayers would be $22 per year for each $100,000 of a home’s value.

In the Champaign County commission GOP primary, incumbent Bob Corbett defeated Audra Bean, 2,884 votes to 2,250. Neither a Democrat nor an Independent filed to contend for the seat in November.

In the Ohio 85th District GOP primary, incumbent Nino Vitale won by a large margin and will face Democrat Garrett Baldwin of Mechanicsburg in November.

In the Ohio 4th District Congressional GOP primary, incumbent Jim Jordan won the nomination and will face Democrat Janet Garrett in November.

In Ohio’s GOP primary for U.S. Senate in the race to face incumbent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown, Jim Renacci was nominated.

In Ohio’s GOP primary for governor to replace term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich, Mike DeWine won the party nomination. On the Democratic side, Richard Cordray won.

By a wide margin, voters approved State Issue 1, an effort to create bipartisan redistricting.

Issue 1 had support from both Democrats and Republicans and faced virtually no organized opposition.

The proposal was modeled after new map-making rules for Ohio legislative districts that voters strongly supported in 2016.

The latest proposal aims to curb gerrymandering, the partisan manipulation of political boundaries that’s seen as a cause of partisanship, gridlock and incivility in Washington.

The amendment limits how counties are split into multiple districts and requires more support from the minority party to put a 10-year map in place.

If lawmakers can’t agree, an existing bipartisan commission will take over. If that fails, the majority party can pass a shorter-term map.

Staff report

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