Voters Say No at Polls

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – St. Clairsville voters passed both a school levy and a park levy Tuesday, while school levies in Bellaire, Bridgeport and the Switzerland of Ohio school districts were rejected.

The failure of the levy in the Bellaire Local School District marked the sixth time since 2010 an attempt to seek additional revenue was defeated by voters there.

This time, the district put on the ballot a request for an additional 8.25-mill levy for five years for the purpose of providing for emergency requirements of the school district. It was defeated by an unofficial total of 836 votes in favor and 1,035 against.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” said Superintendent Tony Scott. “In the last election, we had 1,800 “yes” votes. We felt there would be a smaller turnout in this election and we would have a good chance of passing it if those 1,800 people turned out. If we would have picked up those votes, we would have won.”

He said it would be up to school board members whether the district will try again to pass an issue to raise additional funding.

“But we really don’t have a choice,” he said. “Our five-year forecast shows we are still running a deficit, and we’ve made all the reductions we could. We need additional funding, and it is not coming from the state. We will have to count on residents to stand up.”

Meanwhile, more than 70 percent of voters in the St. Clairsville-Richland City School District approved an additional levy for 2.75 mills Tuesday. The levy is for a continuing period of time, and is for the purpose of funding current expenses.

A total of 1,947 voters said “yes” to the measure, while 826 said “no.”

“On behalf of myself and the school board, we are ecstatic with the support shown,” said Superintendent Walter Skaggs. “We made a commitment to be fiscally responsible, and the turnout is a credit to that.”

St. Clairsville voters also passed a levy benefiting the Memorial Park District of St. Clairsville City and Richland Township. The additional 0.25-mill levy is for the next five years for the purpose of current expenses. A total of 2,024 voters cast ballots in favor, while 649 voted against it.

In the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District, voters rejected a levy for an additional 1 mill for five years for current operating expenses. The money would have been used to pay for a school resource officer in the district. There were 230 residents who voted “yes” on the measure, while 319 voted “no.”

Residents in Bethesda passed two levies before them on Tuesday.

The first, a replacement 3-mill levy for a continuing period of time, passed by a vote of 87-40. The levy is for the purpose of providing and maintaining motor vehicles, communications and other equipment used directly in the operation of the police department, or for the payment of salaries to permanent police personnel.

The second levy – a renewal of a 1.5-mill levy for five years – was approved 99-27. It is for the purpose of general construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and repair of streets, roads, bridges and alleys.

In the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District – including all voters in Monroe County, as well as some precincts in Belmont and Noble counties – voters turned down a levy seeking an additional 6.44 mills for five years for the purpose of avoiding an operating deficit of the school district.

A total of 2,239 residents voted for the levy, while 2,419 voted against it.

All election results are unofficial until the votes are canvassed within the next 14 days.