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Published: Wednesday, 11/8/2006

Tax vote mixed; commissioners' races divided

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

NAPOLEON - Henry County's sales tax request - in its third appearance on the ballot in 12 months - appeared too close to call last night. The number of provisional ballots that will not be counted until Nov. 21 was about 10 times the difference between the "yes" and "no" votes that were tallied last night.

"You can't get much closer than that," said Richard Bennett, president of the Henry County Commissioners.

Nor was he surprised, he said, that the county appeared nearly evenly split over the 0.5 percent, continuing sales tax. Voters had repealed the tax last November, after county commissioners put it on the books without first taking it to the polls. Then in May when the other two commissioners voted to seek a reinstatement of the tax, voters said no.

The sales tax would be expected to raise $1.1 million to $1.2 million a year.

Without those extra funds, commissioners have said they will make deep cuts in numerous areas including the sheriff's office, 4-H, and services for seniors in order to balance the budget.

Two seats on the county board of commissioners were on the ballot, and each party had a candidate elected.

Thomas Von Deylen, a Republican, won the seat now held by Rita Franz, a Democrat, who is retiring at the end of her term next month. He competed against James M. Junge, 55, a Republican who ran as an independent, and Richard Vargo, Jr., a Democrat.

Ironically, Mr. Von Deylen said, the sales tax took some of its hardest hits in the far corners of the county where he suspects residents probably do much of their shopping in surrounding counties.

"They must just be feeling they're tired of taxes," he said.

In a much closer race, Richard Myers, a Democrat, won the unexpired term that Steve Baden, a Republican, resigned from in May after entering an Alford plea in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to one count of attempted menacing by stalking.

Mr. Myers defeated Colleen Phillips, the immediate Republican appointee to Baden's term, and Robert Moyers, who ran as a write-in.

Voters kept the Republican appointee to the county auditor's post. Kevin Nye, who was appointed after Ida Bostelman resigned, defeated John M. Lauf, a Democrat.

The township levies in the county appeared to pass, although Washington Township's request for a 1.9-mill, 5-year replacement for roads and bridges was very close last night.

Two school issues - Archbold and Otsego - that overlap into Henry County as well as the Four County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services issue passed in the county as well.



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