ELECTION: Support soars for Amherst fire, school levies

By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com

Levies were popular with Amherst voters Tuesday as both firefighters and schools found millions of dollars worth of support.

Issue 1, an equipment tax for city fire equipment was passed 81 to 19 percent.

Even amid low turnout, the one-mill renewal won by a four-to-one margin at 1,082 for the levy and 255 against, according to unofficial results from the Lorain County Board of Elections.

That means firefighters will continue to collect $282,600 per year for the next five years. The cash will be used for equipment, including expensive trucks that require years of saving before they can be purchased.

A much bigger dollar victory — $2.67 million per year — went to the Amherst Schools.

The district found 72 percent support for Issue 6, a 4.9-mill renewal for day-to-day operating expenses.

First passed in November 2012, the emergency measure was touted by educators as a critical way to keep the school system’s finances stable through at least 2021.

Election Night results put 1,569 votes in favor of the levy and 600 (28 percent) against.

The property tax renewal does not raise taxes. Without it, superintendent Steven Sayers said key programs were in danger.

But with it locked down, Amherst educators can thrust those worries to the side and focus on construction of the new Powers Elementary School on South Lake Street.

Demolition of Shupe and Harris elementaries will happen late this summer or early in the fall. The new school will be built where Harris stands next to Amherst Junior High and will replace both Powers and Harris, hosting prekindergarten through third grade.

The off-year special election ballot was slim and Amherst was one of the only area communities Tuesday to have voting. With no contested primary candidate races, the ballot contained just the two issues.

Elsewhere in Lorain County, other levies were also successful. Kipton passed a storm sewer levy, Sheffield Village passed a fire and emergency management levy, and Sheffield Township passed two renewals for street lights and general expenses.

All passed by expansive margins.

The only primary races countywide were in Lorain, North Ridgeville, and Vermilion.

When every single vote was counted, there were just 84,852.

That number may sound large until compared to the November presidential election, which saw 206,404 people turn out at the polls.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk