Early voting opens, Amherst voters get tiny ballot with big ramifications

Staff Report

Early voting has started for the May 5 primary, but our readers shouldn’t expect to see a very long ballot.

Amherst residents will weigh in on just two items when they go to vote. Both are renewal levies and would not raise taxes.

Issue 1 asks to keep one mill on the books for Amherst firefighters over the next five years. The levy generates roughly $282,600 per year and the money is used to buy equipment.

Officials have said they are saving up to buy a new command vehicle — a specially-outfitted SUV — for about $75,000. They are also squirreling away cash for fire engines, which are replaced every 20 to 25 years and cost in the neighborhood of about $500,000.

The fire levy costs residents of the city $29.09 per year for every $100,000 worth of property they own, according to the Lorain County auditor’s office.

Issue 6 is a renewal of the Amherst school system’s 4.9-mill emergency operating levy, originally passed by voters in November 2012.

It generates $2.67 million per year but is set to expire Dec. 31. The levy costs $12.50 per month for every $100,000 worth of property you own.

It costs school district residents, including those who live in Lorain and Amherst Township, $148.87 per year for every $100,000 worth of property owned.

District superintendent Steven Sayers has said the levy will make or break the Amherst Schools. Renewal will keep the books in healthy shape through at least 2021, but failure to be “a major dent” that would start the clock ticking toward a deficit.

There are no county or state issues on the spring ballot, and no contested partisan races were triggered — neither Democrats nor Republicans have intra-party fights for Amherst city council, auditor, and treasurer races.

Instead, all candidates have been certified to the November ballot by the Lorain County Board of Elections.

In-person absentee voting hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the elections office, 1985 North Ridge Rd., Lorain.

Staff Report