Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Silverton tax hike 1 vote short

By Allen Howard ahoward@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SILVERTON — A vote on whether to increase the city's 1 percent earnings tax, which was tied in preliminary vote counts May 7, fell short by one vote after provisional votes were counted by the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

        Of the nine provisional votes cast, five were against the quarter-percent tax in crease Provisional votes are those cast by voters who have moved from one precinct to another since the last election.

        They are not certified in the regular count until the board checks to see if those persons are registered.

        At 9 a.m. May 28, all votes cast on the tax increase will be recounted, pending Silverton's approval, board of elections officials said.

        The initial vote count May 7 showed 287 for the increase and 287 against. If the recount results in a tie, the measure will fail.

        David Waltz, municipal manager, said officials will wait until after the recount to see what to do next.

        “Even if it fails in the recount, it is too early for us to think about putting the issue back on the ballot,” Mr. Waltz said. “We have to look at what happened. We didn't do much campaigning for the tax increase because we didn't see any visible opposition.”

        But it appears it's not too early for opposition to mobilize. A political action committee, Citizens for a Better Silverton (CFABS), has started a campaign to defeat the issue if it is put back on the ballot.

        The group is led by Don and Susana Lykins of East Avenue, who said they are circulating petitions against the tax increase.

        “We are fed up with city officials doing things without informing the residents,” Mr. Lykins said. “They put a tax increase on the ballot, then come around and ask for our support. Why can't they ask for our advice before putting it on the ballot?”

        Mr. Waltz said residents have access to city issues through council meetings, public hearings and commit tee meetings, all open to the public.

        “Residents had time to comment on the tax increase through several public hearings,” Mr. Waltz said.

        “If the tax increase fails, it will put us further behind on the repairs. There were several street repair projects we had hoped to start this fall.”

       E-mail ahoward@enquirer.com


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