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Published: Sunday, 10/31/2004

Williams County: Library seeks 1st levy

The Williams County Public Library is asking for its first local tax levy in 122 years on a ballot that includes a request to renew a Bryan city income tax, which surprised officials when it failed in the primary, and contested races for two Williams County commissioner seats and sheriff.

The library is asking for a 1-mill, five-year operating levy that its director, Jeffrey Yahraus, said would allow it to restore staff and materials budgets that were cut last year and save to offset future state funding cuts, expand its space, or possibly offer Sunday hours for the first time.

Formed in 1882 as a project of the Taine Club and with its first building supplied by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, the library has operated with state and private funds.

But a weak economy recently has led to less state aid.

The city of Bryan is asking voters to renew a 0.5 percent income tax for 9 1/2 years for city streets, sewers, police, and fire. Mayor Doug Johnson has blamed a lack of advertising for the tax's failure at the polls in March. The vote was 717 for and 836 against. The tax raises about $1.6 million annually.

Two people running as independents, both of whom have campaigned for public office before, are challenging incumbent county commissioners who are on the Republican ticket.

Evelyn Marie Hoffman, who was county recorder several years ago, is running against Commissioner Duane Votaw. David Lupien, who has run for Bryan City school board in the past, is challenging Commissioner Thomas Strup. Both incumbents are running for their second term.

For sheriff, Kevin Beck is running on the Republican ticket against Daniel Hughes, who is running as an independent.

The Republican candidates for all other county positions do not face opposition.

The county is asking voters to replace a 1-mill, five-year operating levy for senior citizen services. The senior center is serving more lunches - about 106,000 last year compared to about 75,000 six years ago - at its six dining rooms around the county and by home delivery, said Connie Smith, senior services director. The center typically serves 400 to 600 lunches a day.

West Unity Village Council is seeking replacement of a 1-mill, five-year park levy.

The village's south precinct only votes on the questions of sale of beer, wine, and mixed beverages at Unity Mini Mart and Sunday sales of beer between 10 a.m. and midnight.

The county's only other alcohol issue is in Northwest Township, where voters will decide whether to allow Sunday sales of beer between 1 p.m. and midnight at Mid-Toll's Mobil on the Run on State Rt. 49 near Edon.

Several townships have levies on the ballot.

• Millcreek Township trustees are asking for a new 2-mill, five-year fire levy.

• Springfield Township trustees want a replacement 2-mill, five-year fire levy.

• Florence Township trustees want a replacement 0.5-mill, three-year fire levy. Jefferson Township trustees are asking for the renewal of a 1-mill, five-year fire levy.

• The Springfield Township Park District is asking for replacement of a 1-mill, five-year operating levy.

• Maple Grove Union Cemetery District wants the renewal 1-mill, five-year operating levy.

-Jane Schmucker

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