WOODSFIELD, Ohio – If national election returns didn’t show Monroe County voters the importance of each vote, the post-election situation of the county Soil and Water Conservation District office should make it real.
The levy to fund the office passed by the narrowest margin of only two votes.
But, according to the county board of elections, not all the votes have been counted.
The ballots of “provisional” voters – people who moved into the county or changed precincts since the last election and came to the polls Nov. 7 unregistered – won’t be counted until the official vote tally is made Nov. 18.
The status of these voters has to be verified before their ballots can be counted.
“We’re in the same situation we were before the election,” said Nancy Huffman, administrative coordinator for the SWCD office. “Kind of up in the air, hoping for the best.”
The SWCD was one of three county service agencies previously funded by the Monroe County Commission that had levy questions on the ballot this year.
The commission notified the nonmandated agencies in August that it would no longer be able to provide operating funds. According to Commissioner Mark Forni, the need to build a new county jail consumed the commission’s discretionary funds. The old jail, built in 1872, closed last December.
The SWCD office mill levy proposal was .2 mill. The Monroe County OSU Extension office was on the ballot for a .7 mill levy, and a .2 mill levy was proposed for senior services.
The extension levy passed in Nov. 7 balloting by a vote of 3,504 to 3,257. The senior services levy passed by a vote of 4,122 to 2,756. Neither of these outcomes are narrow enough to be reversed by the provisional ballots.
Huffman said the SWCD board has discussed alternative funding options if the levy does not pass.
Because state matching SWCD funds are based on county support, she said, if the mill levy has failed, state funding will also disappear.
The most likely source of new funding, she said, would be from grants, but since the 2001 cycle has aready passed, there could be no new grant monies for the office until 2002.
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