Centerville rejects school levy; incumbent, newcomer win spots on school board

Centerville voters rejected a permanent 5.9-mill additional tax levy by a nearly 57-to-43 ratio Tuesday, according to final, unofficial results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Under the proposed levy, 5.4 mills would have paid for day-to-day operating expenses for the 8,200-student district, and 0.5 mills would go to permanent improvements to long-term assets (facilities, buses, etc.).

Centerville school board race

The race for two spots on Centerville School District’s Board of Education ended with incumbent Allison Durnbaugh winning with 39% of the vote and newcomer Dr. Amanda Graf-Hurst scoring a spot with 35.6%. Challenger David Cobb fell short with 25.4% of the vote.

Durnbaugh said she was “humbled” by the victory and thankful the community has entrusted her to continue to serve on the school board for another term.

“I’m excited to dig in and move forward with our strategic plan, but priority Number One is going to be to address our levy that unfortunately did not pass this evening, and we’re going to have to regroup and kind of see where we go from here.”

Durnbaugh, a registered sales associate for Midwestern Wealth Management, said her priorities include continued communication and collaboration associated with enhancing school safety practices and strategies, maintaining strong fiscal responsibility to local taxpayers and supporting teachers and staff so that they can continue to meet the needs of all learners.

Graf-Hurst, a neonatologist for Pediatrix Neonatology of Ohio, said her top three priority topics are addressing challenges surrounding school finances and funding, continuing to prioritize school safety across the district, and implementing strategies to support and retain teachers and staff.

Centerville City Council

In the race for three spots on Centerville City Council, incumbent Belinda Kenley, Mark Engert and newcomer Jennifer Meineke McLaughlin came out ahead.

Kenley led the pack with 27.9%, while Engert has 26.2% and McLaughlin earned 25.2%. Not making it was incumbent Louis “Duke” Lunsford with 20.7%.

Kenley said she is happy the campaign is behind her and excited about the opportunity to continue serving.

“I love working with city staff and council on our city’s strategic plan, which is especially focused on Uptown Centerville with the new businesses wanting to locate there and getting additional parking,” she said. “That’s probably our biggest focus in the coming year.”

Kenley said her top priorities are Uptown development, neighborhood quality via good housing options and property maintenance, plus providing core services while keeping financial strength.

Engert said his top three priorities are safety, property maintenance, and improving on what he called the city’s “gems” — Yankee Trace, Benham’s Grove, Stubbs Park, Cornerstone Park and Uptown.

McLaughlin said her top issues are getting a school resource officer into all 13 Centerville school buildings, working on “responsible development” and ensuring government transparency and accountability.

Washington Twp. trustee

Vying for the one available spot on Washington Twp. Board of Trustees were Scott Colwell, David Cordonnier, Brian Lunne and Keith Weiskittle.

Lunne won the race with 48.2% of the vote, while Weiskittle, Colwell and Cordonnier fell short with 18.9%, 16.7% and 16.4%, respectively, with alll precincts reporting.

Lunne said his top three priorities are maintaining the township with strong police, fire, public service, and property maintenance while being fiscally responsible and minimizing the burden to citizens, careful development of in-fill properties to maximize the ability to fill the void in housing availability while minimizing the strain on public services and maintaining the character of Washington Twp and collaborating with neighboring communities while maintaining a strong township.

Replacement park levy approved

Centerville-Washington park board 1.0-mill replacement levy sailed to victory by a nearly 58-to-42 ratio.

The levy will replace a 0.9-mill levy set to expire in 2024, a measure that was originally approved by voters in 2004 and renewed in 2014.

The replacement levy will generate approximately $2 million in revenue, which will provide funding for facility upkeep, while adding various requested improvements, according to the park system. Homeowners would pay $35 a year per $100,000 of assessed home value, versus the $21.67 a year presently paid per $100,000 of assessed home value, the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office confirmed.

The park district’s primary source of revenue is from property tax levies provided by Centerville and Washington Twp. residents. It does not receive operating monies from the city of Centerville, Washington Twp., Montgomery County or Five Rivers MetroParks.

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