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|02-25-03: Two seek Democratic mayoral nomination
|By LANCE MIHM
The Daily Standard
WAPAKONETA - The Auglaize County Election Board certified petitions for
the May 6 primary, including a contested race for the St. Marys' Democratic mayoral
nominee at its Monday board meeting.
Fourth Ward council member Tina Ward, 320 South Pine St., has thrown
her hat in the ring against incumbent Mayor Greg Freewalt, 1015 West High St. No
Republican filed for the mayor's race, and the deadline for a write-in to file for the
primary is March 17.
Ward, the manager at Certified Oil gas station in St. Marys, said the
key points of her campaign will be the need for more activities for youngsters in St.
Marys and installing a stop light at the corner of New Knoxville Road and Spring Street.
Freewalt, a salesman at Omni Manufacturing in St. Marys, welcomed the
challenger, saying citizens need to take a more active role in local politics so there is
more competition for the positions. He said his plans for the future include focusing on
the lawsuit between the city and county over the old landfill.
Robin Willoughby, a Democrat, was the lone person to file for Ward's
seat on council that will be vacated.
Other ballot issues for the May election approved by the board
include gas aggregation in Minster and St. Marys. Gas aggregation will allow for
each community to join with other municipalities in a larger group for greater negotiating
power for purchasing natural gas.
Gas utility companies now provide gas supply and delivery service to
companies. With gas aggregation, the community will be able to purchase from other
suppliers and hope to lock in a lower rate.
Minster residents also will vote in May on a new, continuing 6.5 mill
operating levy. The school board reached the decision after the state-mandated five-year
financial forecast projected a $502,849 operating debt in 2004, with debt continually
spiraling up to $2.6 million in 2007.
Also on the primary ballot will be a new, 2-mill continuing tax levy
for the Auglaize County Board of Mental Retardation/-Developmental Disabilities. Board
members decided on the new levy after financial forecasts showed a break-even cash balance
at the end of 2004.
Board of election members voted on Monday to create a deputy
clerk position and eliminate one of the two assistant positions. They also agreed to give
clerk Jean Burklo more help for instituting touch screen voting.
Josie Schaub and Kathy Ankerman currently hold the two assistant
positions. Burklo could not state whether one of those two would be considered for the
deputy clerk position.
Burklo said touch screen voting will be introduced first to the county
poll workers at the end of March or beginning of April. She hopes to have the system fully
implemented for the November general election.
The county will be purchasing 290 touch screen terminals for the 43
precincts in the county, including 50 terminals that meet the standards of the Americans
with Disabilities Act, at a cost of $1.28 million.
"The federal funding is now available to get the touch screen
voting system," Burklo said. "The state now just has to work out the plan on how
it will disperse the money."
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