Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Heavy turnout, long lines delay vote count

First new county commissioner in decade to be elected

By Erica Solvig
Enquirer staff writer

With three-hour lines keeping polls open late in places such as Maineville, Warren County candidates and residents faced a long wait to learn the outcome of Tuesday's vote.

Hours after the polls were scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m., some people who had already been in line were still waiting. No results had been reported two hours later.

Elections officials had predicted a 75 percent voter turnout in the region's fastest growing county - slightly higher than the 72.6 percent turnout for the last presidential election.

Those who showed up were deciding their first new county commissioner in more than a decade. Though Republican Dave Young was the only candidate on the ballot, write-in candidate Jack Chrisman was also vying for the open seat.

The last time voters in the county elected a new commissioner was in 1992, when they chose Larry Crisenbery and Pat South for their respective seats. Crisenbery decided not to run this year for family reasons, which opened the door for a four-way Republican primary that Young won earlier this year.

Young's focus has been to encourage more business development to offset the residential growth here. The 37-year-old Mason businessman and father of three wants the county to build a high-tech business corridor that would start at the Procter & Gamble Health Care Research Center in Mason and head north.

Chrisman, 57, who works part time at the package-handling facility in Wilmington, focused on tax issues, though the county auditor has said some of them are dealt with at the state, not county, level. Chrisman also wants to consolidate all township offices at the county building.

South ran unopposed in the March primary and Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Lebanon voters were deciding whether to increase the city's income tax for the first time in more than 30 years. The proposed change from 1 percent to 1.25 percent will generate $1.3 million a year, which is going mostly to boosting police services and paving more roads.

Officials had hoped for a different result than the decision two years ago, when voters rejected an increase to 1.50 percent. But it still wasn't enough to sway voters like Lebanon resident Teresa Green.

"I just don't think it is necessary," she said after voting against it.

Next year's budget is being crafted without the increase, City Manager Pat Clements said. But if it passes, council will likely discuss additional funding appropriations early in the year so the city can hire more police officers.

City officials haven't decided what comes next if the issue fails, but there's been talk of retracting the current 1 percent income tax credit residents receive for taxes paid to other municipalities.

Elsewhere in the county:

• In a battle of political newcomers, voters were choosing between Don Oda II and Jay D. Revelson for county court judge. The new judge could be saddled with his own caseload as well as that of County Court Judge Dallas Powers, who has been on voluntary paid leave since Aug. 30 while authorities investigate sexual harassment complaints.

• Voters were deciding whether to keep their longtime sheriff, Tom Ariss, or whether to oust him in favor of Morrow Police Chief Richard Heath Kilburn.

• In Deerfield Township, residents were mulling a 2.5-mill continuing police replacement levy. If passed, the levy would generate $2 million a year for the township post of the Warren County Sheriff's Office."I'd rather cut something else than police or fire," township resident Sue Besl Price said after voting for the levy Tuesday.

• Voters in Franklin and Franklin Township were deciding whether to merge the township into the city.

Jennifer Edwards contributed to this story.


Warren County

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