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The seven ballot initiatives Athens voters will see on election day

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Athens County Board of Elections. File Photo by Morgan McCarthy.

In less than a week, election day will be upon Athens County, and citizens will vote on a total of seven ballot initiatives when they visit their precinct.

The initiatives either replace millage rates — a tax rate used to calculate property taxes — or create new taxes. A majority vote among citizens is required for each initiative to pass.

Debbie Quivey, director of the Athens County Board of Elections, oversees the process of placing initiatives on the ballot.

“Issues are put on by the entities where they fall,” Quivey said. “If it says it’s a renewal, it’s a new one. If it’s a replacement and an increase, they’re gonna replace it for the value that it is now, plus they’ll increase it. And then there’s some on here that is a replacement. When they replace one, they replace it for the value that is on the tax now.”

Here are all of the initiatives that will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot:

Issue 16:

Issue 16 concerns expenses of the Athens County Public Libraries. If approved, there will be a tax increase of 10 cents and an additional 2 cents for every $100 of property value. The money raised would be used to help run the Athens County public libraries, according to the ballot text.

Issue 17:

Issue 17 concerns providing funding for child care in Athens County.

If approved, Athens residents will have to keep paying an already-required tax of 20 cents, adding an additional 5 cents for every $100 of property value, according to the ballot. The money raised by the taxation would be put toward child support services, such as Athens County Children Services.

The existing levy has been in place for almost two decades, according to the Athens County Children Services website.

Issue 18:

If approved, Issue 18 would renew a tax of 3 cents for every $100 of property value. These tax dollars would be put toward the funding of treatment for tuberculosis patients in the county. This would be in place for five years, beginning in 2020, according to language from the ballot.

In Ohio, the state does not provide funding to help those who suffer from TB. County governments are left on their own to fund treatment for TB patients, according to The Athens NEWS.

Issue 19:

If approved, Issue 19 would renew a tax of 10 cents for every $100 of property value. The tax dollars would fund the maintenance and operation of emergency medical services in Athens County, according to language from the ballot. This would be in place for five years, starting in 2020.

Rick Callebs, Athens County chief of emergency medical services, said the tax dollars are critical to maintaining and operating medical services. He also said the tax dollars have been used for medical equipment, new ambulances and employee salaries.  

Issue 20:

If approved, Issue 20 would keep in place a tax of 4 cents for every $100 of property value, according to the ballot text. The money raised by this tax would be put toward operating the Athens City County Health Department.

Jack Pepper, the administrator of the health department office, noted that money raised from the levy is largely used for personnel costs and operational costs. He added that nearly half of the department’s roughly $2.4 million budget is generated through levies.

Losing that funding would cause “significant cutbacks” for the department, Pepper said.

Issue 21:

Issue 21, if approved, would implement a new tax of 25 cents for every $100 of property value, according to the ballot. The money would be put toward operating and maintaining facilities and special services for senior citizens.

Joyce Lewis, a member of the United Seniors of Athens County, said that money raised by the levy will be put toward facilities and nutritional programs for elderly citizens, such as Meals on Wheels.

Issue 22:

If approved, Issue 22 would implement a new sales tax, according to language from ballot. Half of the money raised by this levy would go toward operating the county’s 911 emergency system. The other half would go toward funding criminal justice services and the Athens County government.

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