The results of the strangest Ohio primary election on record will be announced Tuesday, but it may not be clear who the real winners are for several weeks.
The primary election was to take place March 17, but because of the coronavirus outbreak it was extended to Tuesday by mostly absentee ballot only.
Voters have until today to get their absentee ballot postmarked for it to be counted in the primary election. They can also drop off their ballot by 7:30 p.m. at their county elections board on Tuesday.
In-person voting on Tuesday will only occur at boards of elections early voting centers and only be available for people with disabilities who require in-person voting and people who do not have a home mailing address.
Area board of elections will release results Tuesday night, but those will be unofficial as they could change as absentee results are counted later in May.
Mail-in ballots must arrive by May 8 to be included in the official count.
Board of elections have until May 19 to complete the official results of the election, according the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
Much of the focus of Ohio’s primary election will be the presidential primary, but local voters will also see about two dozen levies on the ballot, half of them seeking to raise residents’ tax rates.
At the top of the list are the Bellbrook, Troy and Valley View school districts, plus four public safety agencies – Fairborn, West Carrollton, Jackson Twp. and Newton/Pleasant Hill – all asking for tax increases to improve services or build new facilities.
The only countywide levy in the immediate Dayton area is Greene County’s request for a 12-year, 0.25 percent sales tax increase to fund construction of a new, larger jail that would cost $70 million.
Valley View: This ballot measure is a two-part levy combined in a single-vote issue. A 5.5-mill, 37-year property tax bond issue would help pay for a new Valley View campus on land immediately west or south of the current high school.
The district, with funding help from the state, would build the kindergarten to grade 5 and grade 9-12 portions of the campus now, while grades 6-8 would go to school in the existing high school, which is the district’s newest building. The construction approach would allow Valley View to add a grade 6-8 wing in the future without having to install new HVAC and electrical systems.
The other piece of the Valley View vote is a 37-year, 0.5 percent income tax increase to pay for daily operating costs, after the district made recent budget cuts. Voters rejected previous building bond issues in 2016 and 2017 and rejected an operating levy in May.
Troy: Voters in the Troy school district also will decide on a two-part, one-vote bond issue, in their case to replace their seven aging elementary schools with four new buildings, some in different locations, also with funding help from the state.
Both levies would be 37 years – a 6.54-mill bond issue to construct the buildings and a 0.5-mill levy for ongoing care of the new schools. Two years ago, Troy voters rejected a different plan to build two large new elementary schools and renovate the high school.
Bellbrook: The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek district is asking for a new 5.7-mill levy to pay for day-to-day operations. Like Valley View, the district made some budget cuts after voters soundly rejected a previous levy in May.
That May levy featured a tense campaign, including criminal charges for sign stealing, plus months of supporters and opponents lobbing accusations at each other on social media.
Public safety levies
Fairborn: Voters will decide on a 10-year, 0.5 percent income tax hike that would pay for police and fire operations. City Manager Rob Anderson said the increase (from 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent) would generate about $4.8 million annually for the police and fire funds.
“The opioid crisis has hit our departments hard,” Anderson said. “We’re a small-town police force dealing with big-city problems.”
West Carrollton: The city is asking for a new 3.9-mill fire/EMS levy to hire more full-time staff and avoid ongoing brownouts (or temporary closures) of fire stations due to lack of personnel.
The city has relied heavily on part-time firefighters, but like many other jurisdictions, is having trouble hiring and keeping them.
Greene County, other levies
All Greene County residents can vote on whether to increase the county’s sales tax by 0.25 percent for the next 12 years to build a $70 million jail with increased capacity. The 500-bed jail and a new sheriff’s office would be built next to the juvenile justice center on Greene Way Boulevard, west of downtown Xenia.
Sheriff Gene Fischer said increasing the sales tax rather than property tax allows the county to “share the cost with the out-of-towners.”
Wright Library: Oakwood residents will vote on a permanent, 1.5-mill additional levy to support day-to-day operations at the library on Far Hills Avenue.
Washington Twp.: Residents of the unincorporated part of the township (outside of the city of Centerville), will vote on a five-year, 2.3-mill replacement levy for police services that would slightly increase tax rates.
Substitute levies: Residents of the Beavercreek and Cedar Cliff school districts will vote on substitute levies, which keep existing homeowners tax rates the same, but allows for revenue growth when new construction occurs.
Staff writers Jeremy Kelley, Bonnie Meibers and Nick Blizzard contributed to this report.
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