Licking County News

Recount for disabilities board levy appears likely


The Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities levy appears to have failed by eight votes May 6 and likely will be be the subject of a recount when the official results are made available May 27.

"My understanding is that between now and May 19, the board of elections will be certifying provisional ballots and counting absentee postmarked by May 5," said board Superintendent Nancy Neely said.

The levy was defeated 10,361 votes (50.02 percent) to 10,353 votes (49.98 percent), according to the Licking County Board of Elections. Per state law, an automatic recount is conducted if the margin is within one-half of 1 percent.

"There's a good chance of a recount," said Licking County Board of Elections Director Gloria Carson.

Carson said 129 provisional ballots have yet to be counted, but some may be invalid. She said she would not confirm or deny a recount until those ballots are counted.

Neely said the board of developmental disabilities next meets May 21.

"I'm sure there will be a discussion about options, but it won't begin until then," she said.

The board's 1.3-mill continuing levy was placed on the ballot with a request for an additional 0.3 mill.

If approved, the 1.6-mill replacement levy would generate $6 million per year and cost county homeowners $56 per year per $100,000 of assessed property valuation.

The other countywide levy request, a 0.15-mill measure from the Licking County Soil and Water Conservation District, was defeated decisively, 12,497 (61 percent) to 8,129 (39 percent).

Program Administrator Jim Kiracofe said the conservation district doesn't understand how to run an effective levy campaign.

"That's not what we do," he said.

Kiracofe said conservation district members are devoted to science, not politics. He said he wouldn't be in favor of placing another issue on the ballot until the district board creates a plan to improve campaigning.

Kiracofe said the May 6 ballot had few issues to engage Licking County voters and voter turnout -- 19 percent of registered voters -- was disappointing.

"There are other discussions that need to happen," he said.

He said that includes a new policy whereby the district might campaign collectively with the Ohio State University Extension Office and county fairs for funding, which he believes would be advantageous for all organizations.

Kiracofe said the conservation district board is scheduled to meet May 12 and its members will decide what to do from there.

"Somehow, we have to get the word out a lot better," Kiracofe said. "I'm not sure where the board is going to go."

If approved, the 0.15-mill, five-year levy would have generated almost $565,000 per year. County homeowners would have paid $5.25 per year per $100,000 of assessed property valuation.