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|02-21-03: Mayoral, school issues top ballot
|By SEAN RICE
The Daily Standard
It could get interesting in Celina on May 6, as Celina Mayor Paul
Arnold faces Celina City Council member Sharon LaRue in the Republican primary for the
There is no Democrat primary for the mayor's race on May 6, but Celina
school board district residents will decide the financial fate of the district, with two
levy issues appearing on the ballot.
At 4 p.m. Thursday, the deadline passed for candidates to file for a
Democratic or Republican spot in the May primary and for the November election. Anyone who
wishes to join a November race as an independent can do so by May 5.
LaRue told The Daily Standard her goals as Celina mayor would be to
work to give residents the safest, and best-tasting water, to be fiscally responsible with
the annual budget and to work to retain jobs in the area.
She has been married to husband Phil LaRue for 41 years and was
co-owner of Wabash Garage for 35 years. She also has been an elementary school teacher, a
retail store owner and a Realtor.
"I am ready to meet the challenges that face Celina in the
upcoming years and turn them into opportunities," LaRue, 62, said.
"Opportunities to maintain the high quality of living that the citizens of Celina so
Mayor Arnold said he was not certain he would run but the city has
unfinished business that he wants to see through to completion.
"There are a lot of projects that we have started and I would like
to see continuity in getting those thing finished," Arnold, 72, said, citing the
water tower, Havemann Road reconstruction, Wal-Mart and cancer center projects.
"When you change administration, you change people, and before you
know it, things get put by the wayside," Arnold said.
The winner of the Republican mayoral primary will face current Democrat
council member Ron Hammons, 59, in November, and others if any independents join the race.
Democratic council President Bill Sell indicated in the past he may join the race for
mayor, but did not.
In November, three at-large seats on Celina City Council also will be
contested. They are currently held by LaRue, Collin Bryan and Bob Nuding.
Four individuals have joined the election for those three seats. They
are Bryan, Calvin "June" Scott, Jeffrey Hazel and current fourth ward council
member Angie King.
Nuding has decided not to seek re-election and King decided to seek an
at-large seat. If King is elected, her fourth ward seat would become open and the Mercer
County Republican Central Committee would appoint someone to fill it.
Nuding said he may try to gain a position in county government.
"After talking to a lot of people in the county and after a lot of
prodding, I've decided I'll probably run for county commissioner," Nuding said,
adding that he feels he could have a better shot at "energizing" the local
economy in a county position.
The at-large seats are currently two-year term seats, but they will
become four-year terms after November. The at-large seats were temporarily reduced to two
years to stagger the terms so that all positions are not filled at the same time.
Scott, a 51-year-old Democrat, decided to join the council race as a
payment of public service.
"I've lived in this town for 51 years and it's about time,"
he said. "Why not do something, you can't keep taking and not give back.,"
Scott is a social studies teacher at Celina High School and is on the
Celina Planning Commission.
Hazel, a 44-year-old Ash Street resident, also wants to join council as
a public service. He is the president and general manager of the Oasis Group, the
advertising wing of TV-44.
"I'm interested in the workings of government, but for me it's a
public service issue," he said this morning.
All residents in the Celina City Schools district's 21 precincts can
vote on the levy issues in May. One issue is a 6.8-mill property tax levy renewal for
three years, with collections beginning in 2004. The other issue is a 0.75 percent income
tax for five years.
Without passage of both levies, school administration officials have
said drastic cuts will be made to keep the district within budget, including axing sports
and all other extra-curricular activities.
In November, there will be elections all over the county, including one
trustee and clerk in each township, village council members, mayors, and school board
members. The deadline for getting on the November ballot for these positions is Aug. 21.
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P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH