Many incumbents skip Nov. election

Wednesday was the deadline to file to run for village council, township trustee and board of educations seats in Washington County, and a number of incumbents decided not to seek re-election in November.

None of the three Frontier Local Board of Education members whose terms are up at the end of the year will be on the ballot. Jeff Knowlton, Jeff Lauer and Bryan Oliver did not take out petitions to run.

“I’ve been on there eight years,” Lauer said. “It’s time to slow down and spend time with my grandkids. … It’s somebody else’s turn.”

Knowlton and Oliver could not be reached for comment.

Assuming their petitions are certified, four district residents will vie to take their turn on the board – Lawrence Township residents Kurt Bohlen and Gale DePuy II, Newport resident M. Todd Collins and former board member Daryl Bowersock of Wingett Run.

In addition to the board seats, the district will have a 9.19-mill emergency levy on the November ballot.

Longtime Belpre City Schools board member Rod Hineman is also not seeking re-election, something he announced in December of 2011. Neither is Lisa Perry, who has been on the Fort Frye Local Board of Education for the last four years and previously served two other terms. Neither returned calls seeking comment by deadline.

The other incumbents in Belpre, Fred Meredith and Leonard Wiggins, did file to run again. They will face current Belpre City Councilman Bob Wallace, I-at large, and former board member Bobbi Simmons.

Elected to council in 2011, Wallace previously served on the board of education three times and was principal of Belpre High School for 19 years. He said he just feels “more comfortable” on the school board.

“I know a lot more about education than I do about city council stuff,” he laughed.

Fort Frye incumbents David White and Johnna Zalmanek have filed to run again. The other candidates in that race are Whipple resident Lloyd Booth and Lowell resident Stephanie Lang.

All three Marietta City school board incumbents whose terms are ending – Don Atkins, Karen Burton and Wendy Myers – filed to run again, as did local businessman John Lehman.

Former Warren Local Board of Education member Willie Holbert has thrown his hat in the ring again, along with three incumbents – Bob Allen, Bob Crum and Sidney Brackenridge. Former Warren High School Principal Dan Leffingwell had taken out petitions for a possible run, but said recently that he decided he would not have the time to serve given the responsibilities of his new role as superintendent of Noble Local Schools.

Unlike the other districts in Washington County, the Wolf Creek Local Board of Education has two seats on the ballot, not three. Incumbents Joe Campbell and Roger Doak have filed to run again, as has Waterford resident Cheryl McCutcheon.

Villages, townships

The county’s five villages each have four seats on the ballot, but only two of them have enough candidates to fill those seats.

Beverly had six candidates file – incumbents Jay Arnold, Kandy Baker, Beth Kenyon and Jim Ullman, along with former Mayor Clem Beidenbach and Christine Lemal. Incumbent Thomas Burchett was the only person to file for the vacant seat on the village’s Board of Public Affairs.

All four of Macksburg’s council members whose terms are up filed, and unless someone files to run as a write-in by Aug. 26, Ted Dobbin, Sally Frye, Dorothy Pack and Tina Williams will be unopposed in November.

Lowell and Lower Salem each had just one person file to run – Brian Wilson and Mark Greathouse, respectively, neither of whom is an incumbent.

Incumbent New Matamoras Councilman George Addlesburger and Nicole Rinard were the only candidates to file for that village’s council.

Councilman Howard Byard is one of three New Matamoras council members who did not take out petitions. He said he was disappointed to see so few people running.

“I’ve had 10 years on council, and I’m 80 years old. I just want to rest,” Byard said. “I’d like to see some of the younger people get in, but I don’t know what’s the matter with them.”

If a council has empty seats, the other members appoint people to fill them. If that doesn’t happen within 30 days, it’s the mayor’s responsibility. The mayors of Lowell and New Matamoras would also be responsible for filling vacancies on their boards of public affairs, for which no candidates filed.

Each of the county’s 22 townships has two trustee seats open, and all of them had at least two candidates signed up to run, with many having three or more. Wesley Township had nine candidates file.

Ballot issues

There will be six levies in addition to the one for Frontier Local Schools, all of them for emergency services.

Only one – a half-mill fire and emergency medical services levy in Marietta Township – is a renewal, meaning the others fall under a change in Ohio law included in the 2014-15 biennial budget bill.

A provision in the bill eliminated the state’s 12.5 percent rollback on personal property tax levies. While existing and renewed levies are grandfathered, new or replacement levies will no longer have $12.50 of every $100 covered by the state, meaning residents will have to pay the full amount.

Barlow Township residents are currently paying a levy that was voted in at 1.5 mills. As property values have increased, the effective rate has dropped to 1.44 mills for residential and agricultural property and 1.4 mills for commercial and industrial. Because the township is seeking to reset the levy to 1.5 mills, the amount it raises will change and the levy is considered a replacement.

Barlow Township Trustee John Hannan said that means the levy would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 an additional $8 a year compared to the current rate. He said he hopes residents will continue to support the levy.

“We have a very good department out here,” Hannan said. “I’m amazed that volunteers are so generous and caring (for) the community.”

The eighth local issue that will be on the ballot gives voters in the Dunham East precinct the choice of whether to allow sales of wine, mixed beverages and spirituous liquor between 10 a.m. and midnight on Sundays at the Lawnsdale Bar and Carry-Out off Veto Road.