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Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Issues pass in Auglaize, Mercer counties

Mercer County Home, local libraries get funds; Mendon residents can buy liquor

By William Kincaid
It was a good night for local levies and issues as all nine initiatives in Mercer and Auglaize counties were successful at the polls Tuesday night.

Mercer County Home
A 1-mill renewal property tax levy for the Mercer County Home easily passed with 63.5 percent of the vote or 8,420 votes. There were 4,833 votes against the levy.
The levy will continue to generate about $746,000 annually for the operation and maintenance of the facility along state Route 29, west of Celina. The cost to a Mercer County taxpayer with a home valued at $100,000 will remain about $35 per year.
Prior to 2004, the county home was operated as a nonprofit entity, receiving financial support from the county's general fund at the discretion of the county commissioners. In 2004, voters approved the first 1-mill property tax levy for the home.
The facility provides a residence for approximately two dozen adult men and women. Most residents have mental or physical disabilities, behavioral issues and/or are without family or friends.

Mercer County Public Library
Voters in the Celina, St. Henry and Marion Local school districts and the village of Mendon overwhelmingly approved a new operating levy for the county library system.
The levy passed with 67.8 percent of the vote, or 5,687 votes. There were 2,698 votes against the levy.
The five-year, 0.5-mill levy will raise $260,835 a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $15 a year in taxes.
Extensive statewide funding cuts have led to decreased hours, reduced staff time and a moratorium on purchasing library books. In the next few years the library is poised to lose a total of $242,000 in state funds.
New funds from the passed levy will be used to maintain and restore evening and weekend hours in addition to allowing for the purchase of new library materials, library officials have said.

Vantage Career Center
The Vantage Career Center bond levy, touted as the last chance for a construction project and voted on in four counties, passed with 10,662 (53 percent) for the levy and 9,351 against.
In Mercer County, where only Parkway school district residents vote for this levy, it passed with 54 percent of the vote. It also passed in Van Wert County with 65 percent. It failed in both Putnam and Paulding counties.
The 28-year, 1.05-mill bond levy will generate $17.9 million to be used as the local share of a proposed renovation and expansion project. That amount, combined with $16.2 million offered by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, will fund a 69,000-square-foot expansion project and interior renovations.
A homeowner with property valued at $100,000 will pay approximately $33 per year in taxes. Farmers will pay, on average, 19 to 23 cents per acre, officials said.
Similar levies for Vantage previously failed in February and November 2008.

Liquor issues
For the first time in the village of Mendon's history, there will be public sale of liquor allowed.
A C-1-2 liquor permit to sell beer, wine and mixed beverages off premises at P&G Mini Mart, 125 N. Main St., Mendon, easily passed at the polls with 75 percent of the vote, or 382 votes. There were 128 votes against the issue.
Alcohol sales will be allowed Mondays through Saturdays.
A local liquor option for Sunday sales at Certified Oil Corporation, 1130 Celina Road, St. Marys, also passed with 71 percent of the vote, or 231 votes, in St. Marys precinct 2A. There were 91 votes against the issue.
Hours requested were 1 p.m. to midnight Sundays for the sale of wine, mixed beverages and beer at the neighborhood convenience store. These items are currently sold at that location only on weekdays.

Fort Recovery
Voters in Fort Recovery approved a five-year, 2.5-mill replacement levy for the payment of storm and water control costs within the village.
The levy was approved with 68 percent of the vote, or 322 votes. Votes against the issue were 150.
The replacement levy will collect the same millage as the current levy, but will bring in more money due to increased property values. The levy will bring in around $57,894 annually to the village. A property owner with a home assessed at $100,000 would pay $76.56 a year in taxes.
The current levy, which expires at the end of this year, brought in $47,000.
The levy was first passed in the early 1990s after severe flooding in town. Since then, levy money has helped address isolated surface water issues around the village.

New Bremen
Village residents approved a 1.25-mill renewal levy to benefit New Bremen Emergency Medical Services with a vote of 795 for the levy and 198 against it.
The levy will generate $96,000 per year for the purpose of providing ambulance and emergency medical service for a period of five years commencing in 2010. For the owner of a $100,000 home that translates into approximately $40 per year in property tax.
Revenue will be used to compensate volunteer members who will be on-call for 12- or 24-hour shifts. The volunteers will be paid $3 to $5 an hour, roughly half of a normal minimum wage job, for those shifts.
Additionally, levy money will be used for required continuing education.

Dublin Township
Dublin Township voters renewed a 0.5-mill levy that creates funds for general operating expenses.
The five-year levy, approved with 75.5 percent of the vote, or 526 votes, will generate $9,400 annually for the township, which is the area surrounding Rockford. There were 171 votes against the levy.
Because it is a renewal levy, there is no tax increase for residents. The levy costs a resident with a $100,000 home $14.70 annually in taxes.
The money generated will be placed in the general fund for fire protection, emergency medical service, the regional planning commission, salaries, medical insurance, election expense, utilities for the township building and other costs.

Butler Township
A new five-year, 1.5-mill fire levy in Butler Township passed with 67 percent of the vote or 1,594 votes. Votes against the levy were 781.
The funds will replace the department's current 2-mill levy that expires in December.
Monies generated from the levy will be used for the general operation of the fire department.
The levy will raise approximately $150,000 annually for five years with the owner of a $100,000 home paying $45 annually in taxes.
The department consists of 22 volunteer firefighters. Only the chief and assistant chief are compensated.
Additional online story on this date
Voters in the St. Marys City Schools district ousted an incumbent board member in one of five contested school board races held in the Grand Lake area on Tuesday. [More]
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