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Published: Thursday, 11/9/2006

Monroe County keeps most incumbents, but tax issues meet mixed success

BY BENJAMIN ALEXANDER-BLOCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Incumbents were all the rage Tuesday in Monroe County, when voters swept them back into office.

Yet in neighboring Lenawee County, Larry Gould, a 32-year veteran of the county commission, fell out of favor with voters who put a much younger man, Jason MacKay, 28, onto the board.

Bedford Township's park levy lost for the second time, while the Summerfield-Petersburg library expansion finally passed.

And the indicted Erie Township treasurer, Cindy Baum, regained her treasurer's seat.

"I'm very, very excited and appreciate all the support I received, and am excited about getting back in there and getting the township back in order," said Ms. Baum, who will appear in Monroe County Circuit Court at 8:30 a.m. today before Chief Circuit Court Judge Michael LaBeau.

After nine years as the township's treasurer, Ms. Baum stepped down last November after she was charged with two counts of improper safekeeping of public monies.

"I had a number of people ask me if I would consider running again, so I said I would," she said.

In Lenawee County, Commissioner Larry Gould, 64, lost his District 4 seat to Mr. MacKay, a Democrat who lives in Madison Township.

Mr. Gould, a lifelong Republican, has been a commissioner half his life and can't imagine life without the position.

"It's going to go be quite an adjustment for me," he said.

He said that because of redistricting over the years, District 4 has become more Democratic than Republican.

"Previously, I could carry my county easily, but now I have parts of Madison Township, which has never voted Republican," Mr. Gould said. "I'm a Republican and I'm a conservative Republican and I couldn't change my party just so I could better represent my district."

In Monroe County, five of seven incumbents were returned to the county commission.

Incumbent Dale Zorn will serve for his ninth two-year term; Floreine Mentel for a sixth term; William Sisk for a fifth term; Jerry Oley, chairmen of the board, for a fourth term, and J. Henry Lievens for his second term.

Incumbent N. Randy Ansel, who has served for eight years, lost his seat to John Fowler. Connie Velliquette defeated incumbent James Goebel, who served one term.

In Bedford Township, voters again said no to a 0.30-mill parks levy that would have generated about $294,000 a year to create a new park and maintain others. The levy also failed in August.

The current millage rate of 0.25, which generated about $225,000 annually for parks, will expire at the end of this year.

"It is a dark day in Bedford," said Mike Pasco, treasurer of the township's parks board.

He said that the township board will have to provide the parks board with funds because once the parks commission's reserve funds run out, there will be no money to maintain Bedford's five large parks - Indian Creek, White Park, Parmile, Carrs Grove, and Samaria.

Mr. Pasco said the parks commission has $60,000 in its general fund and $120,000 in its parks improvement fund.

"I guess we will have to do the best we can, and I'm sure we will," he said.

"We will hang tough and follow what the people want what they voted for."

Contact Benjamin Alexander-Bloch

at: babloch@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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