The candidates for Bexley City Council and city auditor participated last week in a forum hosted by the Franklin County Consortium for Good Government.

The candidates for Bexley City Council and city auditor participated last week in a forum hosted by the Franklin County Consortium for Good Government.

The event gave former city auditor Gary Qualmann the opportunity to explain the process of voting for a write-in candidate.

Qualmann is running as a write-in on Tuesday. He entered the race after current auditor Larry Heiser filed petitions with the Franklin County Board of Elections but didn't qualify for the ballot 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. At the time, Harvey said he decided to run because he was concerned there wouldn't be a qualified candidate on the ballot. But with Qualmann running, Harvey confirmed for ThisWeek that he is not interested in serving as city auditor.

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

"I'm well qualified," Qualmann said during the forum.

Qualmann said in addition to working as city auditor, he was employed by a public accounting firm. He said he can do the job and will be "very responsive to the needs of city council."

He also detailed for those in attendance the process of voting for a write-in candidate. He said voters will need to tap the "write-in" button that appears on the voting screen. A digital keyboard then appears and voters will type in the name of the candidate. They then will press the green "accept" button to view their selections before pressing "cast vote" to select their candidate.

Board of elections director Michael Stinziano previously told ThisWeek that voters don't have to know a candidate's full name or even spell it correctly. He said if board of elections officials can determine the intent of the vote, it would be counted.

Bexley Public Library officials also discussed their upcoming levy. The library is asking for a five-year, 1.5-mill levy that would cost homeowners $45 per $100,000 of assessed property value, or a couple of hardback books a year, said Alan Radnor, president of the library's board of trustees

One resident asked what happens if the levy fails. Radnor said library staff will have to be cut. The library has had to dip into reserves that it built up the last 20 years, and those reserves are projected to be exhausted in five months, he said.

City council candidates were given one minute to make an opening statement.

Council member Robyn Jones said she grew up in southwestern Ohio on a farm, went to college in Athens, taught high school in Columbus, received a law degree and practiced with a state agency. She has been in private practice since 2002.

She said her "very diverse" background "has served me well the last four years on the various and wide array of topics that we have to address every week."

Council candidate Richard Sharp said he has been a College Avenue resident for 22 years. The theme of his campaign is "Keep Bexley Growing," which he admitted might sound odd in a landlocked community that can't grow geographically. But Bexley can continue growth on Main Street through development, Sharp said.

"We need to keep Bexley a successful and vibrant community," he said. "We need to go beyond passing laws that restrict what residents can do and encourage residents to dream."

Candidates were asked what they considered to be Bexley's worst recent expenditure. Council president Matt Lampke said he evaluates each expenditure.

"We have a $10-million budget and numerous expenditures," he said. "Some I voted for and some I did not vote for. Some I was in the majority and some I was the lone dissenter."

He said one item he voted against was a new $75,000 generator for the old police station, knowing the city was going to construct a new police station.

Council member Rick Weber, seeking his sixth term, said he works hard to scrutinize every expenditure. There isn't one item that he regretted spending money on, he said.

"I think we have done an excellent job," Weber said. "We have gotten better at tightening our belt."