Coronavirus: Mail-in voting raises stakes for Bellbrook Sugarcreek school levy

Those spearheading groups that are for and against the Bellbrook Sugarcreek schools levy said they will have to work harder to make sure voters mail in their ballots under the new directives the state legislature ordered this week.

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Gov. Mike DeWine has indicated he will sign the bill, which will require registered voters who didn’t early vote to request an absentee ballot by mail or by phone. Then, once filled in, voters will have to mail in their ballots or drop them off at the board of elections by April 27.

One of the items on the ballot for Greene County voters will be the Bellbrook Sugarcreek schools levy, which asks voters to approve $3.3 million a year in new taxes.

Those for and against the ballot measure fear people won’t vote at all because of the new state process.

“We’ve already done $2.3 million dollars worth of reductions,” Dr. Doug Cozad, district superintendent, told News Center 7’s Monica Castro on Thursday night.

“If this levy doesn’t pass, we will have 2.5 million dollars additional reduction.”

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If the levy passes, the owner of home valued at $100,000 would pay $200 more a year in property taxes.

Cozad said the district and its supporters will lean on email, Facebook and social media accounts to get the word out for Election Day on April 27.

John Stafford, of the Bellbrook Sugarcreek Vote No Campaign, thinks the COVID-19 pandemic could sway voters to reject the ballot question.

“A lot of people do not want to tax themselves, but they really don't want to take the tax to their struggling friends, neighbors and those in the community who are most vulnerable, the senior citizens, the struggling families who are living pay check to pay check,” Stafford said.

He said his faction just wants to make sure everyone -- whether they are voting yes or no on the levy -- gets sent an absentee ballot.

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