June 28, 2016

Partly sunny

Two school districts seek levies today

Black River Schools officials are hoping for the best, but are preparing for the worst.

If the district’s 8.7-mill, five-year additional levy on today’s ballot is defeated, voters can expect to see another levy in August.

The school board voted last month to place the levy on the Aug. 7 special election ballot as a backup plan.

Wednesday is the deadline for filing for the August special election.

Black River school board President Janet Eichel said she was cautiously optimistic that voters would approve the levy today.

“I think we have a chance,” she said. “I sure hope we do.”

Voters haven’t approved a levy providing additional money for Black River Schools since 1997.

The Black River levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $266.44 a year and bring in $1.6 million a year in operating funds for the district, which the state placed on a “fiscal caution” list in 2011 because of its strained finances.

The Black River levy is one of only two school issues on today’s ballot.

The other is a 7.9-mill, 10-year additional levy for Cloverleaf Schools. That levy would bring in $3.7 million a year for 10 years and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $248 a year.
Cloverleaf school officials have indicated they also would try for a levy in August if today’s attempt fails.

Two other school levies — for Medina and Brunswick — were withdrawn from the ballot.

The Medina school board said it pulled the levy because it had lost hope of passage because of controversy surrounding Superintendent Randy Stepp’s contract.

Brunswick officials said they decided to wait until they knew how much money the district would get in the new state budget before trying for a levy.

As a result of the levy withdrawals, today’s election will be the smallest spring election in at least a dozen years.

Only 41 of the county’s 117 precincts will be voting. The precincts include only about 41,000 registered voters — less than a third of the county’s more than 125,000 registered voters.

Three other issues will be decided:
— Montville Township wants a 1.3-mill, five-year renewal levy for fire protection.
— n Chippewa Lake is asking for a 6-mill, five-year replacement levy for operating expenses.
— n Voters in Homer Township will vote on a 3.3-mill, permanent replacement levy for the Town and Country Fire District, which is headquartered in Wayne County.

There are only two contested races today — both for Wadsworth City Council.

Four Republicans — Joseph A. Rodgers, Bob L. Thurber, Robert D. Titus and David L. Williams — are vying for three at-large nominations.

In another Republican face-off, in Ward 1, Ralph J. Copley is challenging incumbent Councilman Timothy J. Eberling.

Carol Lawler, director of the Medina County Board of Elections, said 603 voters cast early ballots for today’s election.

Lawler declined to predict a voter turnout.

“I don’t know what to expect,” she said.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.