Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Hamilton Co. Issues

Levy for seniors, financing repeal issues approved

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A tax increase for senior services in Hamilton County passed easily Tuesday, and in Cincinnati, voters said tax dollars should not be used to finance council campaigns.

With 100 percent of the county's 1,025 precincts reporting, a 1.16-mill renewal and increase to fund the Council on Aging's Elderly Services program passed with 59 percent of the vote.

The five-year levy is expected to generate $18.3 million per year for the program.

There was little organized opposition to the senior services levy, but some supporters feared it might get lost in the shuffle of a ballot that had dozens of local tax issues.

Critics of the levy complained that the senior services levy, like many county levies in recent years, was asking for more money than the program needed to keep up with inflation.

With 100 percent of Cincinnati's 376 precincts reporting, Issue 8 passed with 55 percent of the vote.

It repealed part of another charter amendment narrowly passed by voters last year - one that would have set up a system of partial public financing of Cincinnati political campaigns.

Issue 8 prohibits the city from contributing tax dollars to the candidacies of any public official or ballot issue. The portion of the 2001 charter amendment that sets limits on the amount that individuals and political action committees can give to political candidates remains untouched.

A group of conservative activists worked throughout the early part of the year to get the issue on the ballot. Issue 8 was endorsed by the Hamilton County Republican party.

Elsewhere around the county, municipalities and townships that were trying to raise taxes Tuesday were having mixed results.

In the city of Harrison, with 100 percent of the votes counted, a 7.25-mill additional tax levy for fire services was rejected by 59 percent of voters.

In Silverton and Glendale, voters were passing tax levies.

A 0.25-percent increase in Silverton's city income tax passed with 62 percent of the vote.

In Glendale, with 100 percent of the vote counted, voters approved a 8.5-mill replacement and increase levy for village services, with 70 percent voting in favor.

A 0.4-percent increase in Mount Healthy's income tax failed with 60 percent voting against it.

The opposite was true in North College Hill - there, voters approved a 0.5-percent increase in the income tax with 51 percent of the vote.

Forest Park, too, was among the Hamilton County cities where voters rejected an increase in taxes. A 0.35 increase in Forest Park's income tax was rejected by nearly 80 percent of the nearly 4,800 residents who voted.

But in Lincoln Heights, voters approved not one but two ballot issues that will increase taxes. A 4-mill fire levy passed with 70 percent of the vote. And a 4.75-mill police levy passed with 63 percent.

In Harrison Township, 62 percent of the voters rejected an additional 3.85 mills for police and fire services.

In an Indiana race of interest, retired Los Angeles police detective Philip Vannatter was defeated in his attempt to become Switzerland County sheriff. Mr. Vannatter gained fame as one of the investigators in the O.J. Simpson murder case.

Mr. Vannatter, a Republican, was defeated by Democrat Nathan Hughes, a former Vevay assistant police chief.


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