The race for Bexley auditor isn't a race at all.

The race for Bexley auditor isn't a race at all.

Former city auditor Gary Qualmann is running unopposed as a write-in candidate Nov. 3.

Current auditor Larry Heiser filed petitions with the Franklin County Board of Elections but was declared ineligible by the board because he failed to sign a form relating to the gathering of his signatures.

Both Qualmann and Bexley service director Bill Harvey filed paperwork in September to run as write-in candidates. Harvey said at the time that he decided to run because he was concerned a qualified candidate wouldn't be on the ballot. But with Qualmann running, Harvey confirmed for ThisWeek that he is not running for city auditor.

Qualmann, 58, previously served one four-year term as auditor. Heiser defeated Qualmann in the November 2005 election.

Qualmann has stayed active in the community, having served on Capital University's audit committee and, more recently, he was appointed to the board of trustees.

He also was a member of the financial task force that Mayor John Brennan assembled last November to review city finances. The task force presented its final report to Bexley City Council on Sept. 22.

As the city moves forward, it will be important to balance the needs of residents for services like snow removal and leaf pickup with the cost of providing those services, Qualmann said.

Bexley would have bigger problems without contributions from the estate tax, he said, and would need to look for ways to bring in additional revenue. He said the city receives about $1-million a year in estate tax revenue, or about 10 percent of the general fund.

"It is a very important source (of income)," he said.

Qualmann disagrees with Heiser's efforts to set aside estate tax funds for one-time projects. He said having the estate tax money increases the city's cash resources and tides over Bexley in years when expenditures exceed revenue.

"I think that would limit the financial flexibility of the city," Qualmann said of setting aside estate tax funds for one-time expenditures.

The city will need to monitor efforts on the state and national levels to abolish the estate tax, Qualmann said.

"That has been an ongoing issue," Qualmann said. "It was a big issue in 2002 and 2005. It just goes to show you it clearly is an ongoing issue."

Brennan said he is excited about having Qualmann return to the auditor's position and already has met with him several times. Brennan will work with Heiser, Qualmann and finance director Beecher Hale during this year's budgeting process.

"It is unfortunate what happened to Larry," Brennan said. "(Qualmann) is a good person to replace him. It is time to move on."

Qualmann and his wife, Karen, have two children, 25-year-old Kate, who is teaching in Chile, and 22-year-old Scott, a senior at the University of Kentucky. He has lived in Bexley for more than 25 years.

Qualmann earned a bachelor of arts in business administration and accounting from Capital University.

He served most recently as senior vice president of portfolio management for RockBridge Capital. He also worked at AirNet Systems Inc. as chief financial office, secretary and treasurer; at Metatec International Inc. as CFO and treasurer; and at Inc. as CFO, treasurer, secretary and director.

Gary Qualmann