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Published: Wednesday, 11/8/2006

ADAMhs issue approved; courthouse levy rejected

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DEFIANCE - Defiance County voters passed the 0.7-mill, five-year operating levy for the Four County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services yesterday

But an eight-year increase in sales taxes to raise money to build a new courthouse was overwhelmingly rejected.

The ADAMhs renewal levy, which was on ballots in Williams, Fulton, and Henry counties as well, would generate about $400,000 a year for Defiance County and a combined $1.8 million for all four counties.

Defiance County Commissioner Otto Nicely credited the levy's passage in the county to its being a renewal, unlike the county-wide sales tax.

"It's not an additional tax and it does serve people in the four-county area," he said.

Tom Kime, president of Defiance County's board of commissioners, said the sales tax would have increased taxes a half-cent per dollar for the first four years and would have decreased to a quarter-cent per dollar the following four years.

The increase was expected to generate $13 million to build a five-level courthouse just east of the existing structure, at Clinton and East Second streets in downtown Defiance.

Mr. Kime said the courthouse, built in 1876, has become cramped, and safety has become an issue.

The courthouse has no holding cells for prisoners standing trial.

The board will re-evaluate its options and most likely will move some offices out of the courthouse to make more room for the courts, Mr. Nicely said.

But Mr. Kime said, "There's not a definite answer at this point."

"We hoped county residents would have seen and understood the issue," Mr. Kime said. "But the courthouse belongs to everyone in the county and it's their decision. Either we didn't get the message out or they have no desire to do it this time."

Voters passed Northeastern Local Schools' 9.9-mill, 10-year replacement levy. The new levy will generate $1.85 million annually beginning in 2008. The levy currently generates $1.3 million per year.

In Ayersville Local Schools, voters rejected a 5.5-mill, five-year operating levy for operating expenses. The levy would have generated about $493,000 during the first year.



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