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Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

St. Henry voters drown income tax levy

By Shelley Grieshop

Mercer County Treasurer Dave Kaiser of St. Henry joins other officials as they s. . .

ST. HENRY - Village officials this morning axed the idea for a new swimming pool and will look elsewhere for needed operating funds after voters nixed a permanent 1/2 percent income tax increase.
"We're obviously disappointed," village administrator Ron Gelhaus said this morning. "We were trying to be proactive ... We'll continue to do the best we can."
Gelhaus said residents were told during the levy campaign that if it failed, the town would "not build a swimming pool anytime soon."
"We can't do it with the funds we have," he said.
The tax went down 778 votes (54.48 percent) to 650 votes (45.52 percent). Figures show 82.1 percent of the town's registered voters weighed in on the issue.
Gelhaus and St. Henry Mayor Jeff Mescher thanked those who supported the levy and the committee who worked hard to educate residents.
Mescher said the village's finance committee and council will "look to the future to make the improvements that are needed and find the means to fund these projects."
The proposed income tax would have raised the town's current rate to 1 1/2 percent. A resident with an annual income of $50,000 would have paid an additional $250 per year.
The new tax would have generated about $480,000 annually the first five years to replace the town's 40-year-old swimming pool with one costing $1.5 to $1.9 million. Beginning the sixth year, the levy would have collected $356,000 each year to fund operating expenses and special projects.
Ongoing reductions in local government funding and other revenues is expected to drain village funds by up to $115,000 annually, council members have said.
Officials also said that if the aging pool needs major renovations in the future and funds aren't available, it may close.
Additional online stories on this date
CELINA - School district residents overwhelmingly denied a bond issue that would have built a new elementary school.
Nearly 68 percent of voters - or 5,806 people - living in the Celina school district voted against the levy, and about 32 percent - or 2,789 people - voted for it. [More]
A Fort Recovery High School teacher was arrested Tuesday afternoon on a sex-related charge involving a former student.
Christopher Alan Summers, 32, 671 Woodlawn Ave., St. Henry, faces one count of sexual battery, a third-degree felony. He remains in the Mercer County Detention Facility. [More]
Voters in Mercer and Auglaize counties came out in droves to participate in the presidential election, either casting early absentee ballots or going to the polls Tuesday. [More]
Two new faces and an incumbent will fill clerk of court and recorder positions in Mercer and Auglaize counties.
In Mercer County, recorder Tammy Barger, a Democrat, was ousted by newcomer Angie King, a Republican. Barger, of Celina, has held the post for 12 years. [More]
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