Elections board to re-consider 1 of 2 St. Clair Twp. levy requests

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Elections board to re-consider 1 of 2 St. Clair Twp. levy requests

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St. Clair Twp. fire renewal levy will be re-considered on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, by the Butler County Board of Elections. STAFF FILE PHOTO

The Butler County Board of Elections will re-evaluate its decision on St. Clair Twp.’s fire levy renewal request, but not its life squad levy request, according to the Butler County Board of Elections.

The elections board did not certify either issue earlier this week because of what was deemed an invalid signature on a clarification resolution passed on Aug. 4 by township trustees. That piece of legislation corrected typos in previous legislation requesting the 0.5-mill fire and 0.5-mill life squad renewal levies be on the November ballot.

The Butler County Prosecutor’s Office previously advised the board it could certify the fire levy since only the date of the election — it indicated the election was 2012 and not 2017 — was incorrect.

Elections Director Diane Noonan said they understand that it could not have been an election for 2012.

However, the life squad levy had an incorrect date on when the auditor certified the levy amount. The order or certified it in June but the legislation indicated it was in July. Noonan called that a “fatal flaw.”

Noonan said the decision to reconsider the fire levy was made as election officials continued to discuss the issue after the Aug. 21 certification meeting where the board voted 3-1 to deny the certification.

The board still can deny certification based on the issue of the signature, which St. Clair Twp. law director Gary Sheets believes his signature is legally valid. He told this news outlet earlier this week that he acted in a de facto capacity, which allows a public official to perform the duties of a public office without being lawfully placed in that office.

However, a review by this news outlet of the documents filed indicate the township gave Sheets the authority “to take all action necessary to cause this renewal to be presented to the electors at the General Election.” Those documents were also signed by St. Clair Twp. fiscal officer Doug Wheelwright.

Sheets previously told this news outlet Ohio case law also provides him the legal authority to sign the clarifying resolution.

Sheets declined to comment further on the issue but confirmed he will attend Tuesday’s meeting at the elections office on Princeton Road.

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