Bexley City Council will welcome a couple of new members in January.
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, voters elected Lori Ann Feibel and Deneese Owen to council, reelected current council member Richard Sharp and elected current member Anne Lewis to fill a two-year term in the seat to which she was appointed last year.
Mayor Ben Kessler secured his position as the city’s top leader in an uncontested race, receiving 2,783 votes.
Bill Harvey, who currently serves as Bexley’s service director, was elected city auditor, defeating Gary Qualmann. Voters also gave their stamp of approval to the Bexley Public Library’s 2.8-mill operating levy.
According to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections, with 10 out of 10 Bexley precincts reporting at 10:05 p.m. Tuesday, the library levy received 2,285 “yes” votes, or 74 percent, to 814 “no” votes, or 26.
Harvey received 1,488 votes or 58 percent, while current auditor Qualmann received 1,081 votes, or 42 percent.
In the contested council race for full four-year terms, Feibel was the top vote-getter, receiving 2,138 votes or 31 percent. Next was Owen with 1,944 votes or 28 percent; Sharp with 1,574 votes or 22 percent; and candidate Robert Kaynes Jr. received 1,321 votes or 19 percent. Lewis, who was unopposed, received 2,324 votes.
With the election over, Kessler said he looks forward to working with council members on issues affecting the city.
Kessler said priorities include “continuing to keep an eye on our finances, making sure we’re being careful in our spending and maintaining a balanced budget, building up safety by encouraging a strong and capable police force, and focusing on the edges of Bexley – Livingston Avenue, North Cassady (Avenue) and areas that require more than work than Main Street to bring development.”
Owen cited many of the same issues. Priorities include “working on our finances, working on communication (between the city and residents) and working to keep the community safe,” she said.
Sharp said another priority of city officials is to work with Capital on the university’s proposed plan to add lighting and a new sound system to its Bernlohr Stadium.
“I think we’re going to take a very active partnership with Capital to improve relations (with the community) and work hard on that,” he said.
Harvey also said he looks forward to working with council members, Kessler and other city administrators on issues of importance. He attributed his win to reaching out to as many residents as possible.
“I had a lot of great supporters and I did a lot of great work, walking the entire city and passing out literature and talking to residents,” he said. “I think I got my message out.”
Bexley Public Library Director Rachel Rubin attributed the levy’s win to the value the community places on the library’s services.
The levy will enable the library to expand its collection, provide more e-books and maximize the grant it received from the Bexley Community Foundation to archive historical items and make them available online, Rubin said.
“I really do feel the Bexley community values the idea of lifelong learning and they value the resources that help the community stay engaged and involved,” she said. “Community support like that is an honor and a privilege.”
The levy replaces the library’s current 1.5-mill levy, which is set to expire in 2014.
Under the 1.5-mill levy approved in 2009, the owner of a home appraised at $100,000 currently pays approximately $3.72 a month, or $44.69 annually. The 2.8-mill operating levy increases the monthly property taxes by about $4.45 per month, or $53.31 annually.
The owner of a home appraised at $100,000 will pay about $8.17 per month, or $98 annually. New levy collections begin Jan. 1.