- Lawrence Budd Staff Writer
Warren County voters passed issues and elected Republicans in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial election-night totals.
GOP candidates won both contested countywide races on the presidential election ballot, while also retaining uncontested countywide offices. Winning vote totals surpassed 70 percent in every countywide election, candidates and issues.
Voters approved a range of issues, including renewal of five-year countywide levies for mental health recovery and senior services, a school levy in the Kings district, fire levies in Massie and Salem townships and a senior levy in Franklin.
“People are very pleased with the way the county’s run, in an environment where people are not pleased with almost anything else in government,” said County Commissioner Dave Young, elected to a fourth term.
State Sen. Shannon Jones was unopposed in her election to the other county commission seat up for election, as was Barney Wright for county treasurer, Tim Tepe and Jeff Kirby for common pleas court judges and Gary Loxley for county judge. Incumbents Prosecutor David Fornshell, Clerk of Courts Jim Spaeth, Sheriff Larry Sims, Engineer Neil Tunison and Coroner Russell Uptegrove were also reelected unopposed.
It was the first general election challenge for Young and the seventh defeat for Charles Sanders since his recall as Waynesville mayor in 2010. Previously Sanders had run four times for U.S. Senate and twice for Congress.
In the other countywide race, Recorder Linda Oda won a second term over Democrat Michael Kassalen, who ran unsuccessfully for a statehouse in 2012.
“A lot of people vote party line no matter what,” Kassalen said, noting GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump received more than 65 percent of the county’s votes. “I think that proves they’ll vote for anyone with an R beside their name.”
Oda said the vote totals indicated the county’s Republicans were “compassionate conservatives.”
“Warren County may be one of the most conservative counties in the nation,” she said. “We want to take care of those that can’t take care of themselves. We’re just not for throwing money around.”
Voters also took the first steps toward electric and gas aggregation in Wayne and Franklin townships and the Village of Corwin.
“Aggregation saves taxpayer dollars,” said Oda, also fiscal officer in Clearcreek Twp., which has begun buying aggregated electricity.
The current 1.2-mill property tax levy for elderly services expires at the end of the 2017. It is expected to cost $34.30 a year for every $100,000 in property value and raise about $6.9 million a year.
First passed as replacement in 2002, the 1-mill mental health recovery services levy was renewed in 2006 and 2011. It also expires next year.
The new levy is expected to cost property owners $24.83 for every $100,000 in value and raise $5.9 million for mental health counseling, medically-assisted treatments for addiction services and crisis intervention team training services.