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Changing Local Skeptics’ Votes

For years we have pointed out that in many respects, elections on local issues are more important to area residents than those on the national stage. Presidents don’t manage local schools, after all.

We also have noted that simply because local officials are closer to voters in our area, a level of trust often missing at the state and national levels exists.

In most elections, voters in East Ohio and the Northern Panhandle reinforce our points with large majorities in favor of levy requests to support schools and local government services. But last week, the margins were close — alarmingly so in a few cases — in some referendums on levies.

Indian Creek school district officials won renewal of a 7.9-mill tax levy by a very slim margin — just 4,991-4,954. Just a few votes would have sent the critical operating expenses levy down to defeat.

Several other important levy requests just squeaked by and a few, including a levy meant to support Bridgeport police, were rejected.

What changed? Uncertainty over the economy because of COVID-19 didn’t help. Neither did increasing anti-tax sentiment in general.

Clearly, though, many local officials need to rebuild the trust they enjoyed for so long from voters. That needs to be viewed as a priority, even where levies were approved — because at some point, voters will have to be asked to renew them.

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