Highland County voters to decide variety of local issues


Health department, Children Services among local levies

By David Wright - dwright@timesgazette.com



Highland County voters will decide on a number of local issues and options in the Nov. 6 General Election, according to the Highland County Board of Elections.

A five-year, 0.5-mill replacement levy for the Highland County Health Department will appear on the ballot this year countywide.

As previously reported, Health Commissioner Jared Warner said earlier this year that the health department is operating today on the same amount of funding it had in 1989, when its last levy was approved.

Warner said the proposed replacement levy would amount to about $15.75 for each $100,000 valuation, a $9.59 increase from the 1989 levy, which amounts to $6.16 for each $100,000 of valuation. Warner said if the levy is approved, it will remain the smallest in the county.

The replacement would generate roughly $361,000 annually for the health department, about $200,000 more than the current levy.

The health department would use the increased funds to pay for ongoing operational costs, vaccines, technology, maintenance and modernization efforts, Warner said.

Voters countywide will also decide on a five-year, 0.9-mill renewal levy for Highland County Children Services.

Highland County Job and Family Services Director Katie Adams told commissioners in August that despite a 22-percent decrease in the county’s child placement costs over the past three years, children in the foster system are still costing the county $1.8 million per year.

But, she said, she does not anticipate that the Children Services department will require funding additional to the revenue generated by its current levy in the immediate future.

Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley said the levy costs taxpayers roughly $22.50 per year for each $100,000 property valuation. He said the levy brings in about $550,000 per year, but that fluctuates from year to year.

A 2.7-mill renewal levy for Great Oaks will appear on the ballot in most Highland County voting precincts to pay for current expenses for the vocational school network.

As previously reported, Great Oaks CEO and President Harry Snyder told commissioners in September that the levy was originally approved in 1988 and subsequently renewed in 1998 and 2008.

Fawley told The Times-Gazette that the typical agricultural or residential property owner could expect to pay $63.93 annually per $100,000 of property valuation, while that figure would be $85.82 annually per $100,000 valuation for commercial and industrial entities.

Snyder said the Oaks network has demonstrated over the past three decades that it can live within its $64 million annual budget and still complete building renovations, hire and retain staff, and update equipment without additional funding.

Voters in Bright Local School District will decide on a new 3-mill levy for general permanent improvements.

If approved, the new levy would cost property owners $105 annually for each $100,000 of property evaluation, Treasurer Randy Drewyor previously said.

Drewyor said if the levy is passed, it would produce about $210,000 annually for the school district. He said that money could only be used for permanent improvements.

An 0.5-mill levy that was passed back in 1976 will expire in late 2020, Drewyor said. When that happens, if the new levy is passed, property owners would then only pay $87.50 annually per each $100,000 of property evaluation.

The proposed issue is a continuous levy, meaning it would remain in place permanently, unless another issue is placed on a future ballot to rescind it.

Also on Election Day, voters in Hillsboro will decide on two local liquor options for Sunday sales at Highland Lanes and Hillsboro 1st Stop.

Voters in the Village of Lynchburg will decide on a five-mill renewal levy for police services, and others in townships throughout the county will consider a number of renewal levies for cemeteries, fire/EMS services and school improvements.

According to the board of elections, voters in Jackson, Clay, Concord and a portion of Liberty Township have new polling locations.

Voters in Liberty Township Northwest, Penn Township, Union Township and Washington Township will now vote at the Southern State Community College Patriot Center, 100 Hobart Dr. in Hillsboro.

Concord Township voters, who originally voted at 2281 SR 136, will now vote in New Market at 5350 New Market Rd.

In Clay Township, the polling location has changed from 2618 SR 134, Buford, to 28 W. Main St. in Mowrystown.

The polling location in Jackson Township has changed from 1873 SR 73 to 11090 SR 124 in Marshall.

Under the new alignment, no voter in Highland County will be required to travel more than nine miles from their original polling location, according to the BOE.

The Highland County Board of Elections can be reached at 937-393-9961.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.

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Health department, Children Services among local levies

By David Wright

dwright@timesgazette.com