Recount possible for library levy

MIDDLETOWN — A slim 151 votes separated the Middletown Public Library’s 0.75-mill levy from defeat, though several hundred ballots yet to be counted could potentially be a game-changer.

The issue passed Tuesday, May 4, with 16,662 votes, or 50.1 percent, for the levy and 16,567, or 49.9 percent against it Butler County. The issue passed 175-119 in Warren County.

The margin of victory in Butler County alone was 95 votes, according to unofficial results from the Butler County Board of Elections.

Nancy Piper, an administrative assistant with the elections board, said 438 provisional ballots still have to be validated and counted before the results are final. That’s in addition to 369 outstanding absentee ballots she said had not been returned as of Wednesday.

“We’ll count all of those in our final official run, which should take place between May 15 and May 19,” Piper said. “Up until then we’ll be busy verifying our provisionals and processing any absentee ballots we receive.”

A potential recount for the levy could be ordered if the vote margin is less than half of 1 percent of the total votes cast, as dictated by state law. Considering the total vote count as of Wednesday in Butler County was only 33,229, a margin of less than 166 votes would trigger a recount for the levy.

Any recounts will not be ordered until after the official vote tally is complete, according to elections officials.

The levy will draw revenue from residents in Middletown, Monroe, Trenton and Seven Mile; and Lemon, Liberty, Madison, Wayne and West Chester townships for the library system’s three branches in Middletown, Trenton and West Chester Twp.

Library Director Doug Bean said the library will restore services but that until the vote count is finalized, “we’re on hold for the time being.”

“We appreciate everyone’s support; however, there are those outstanding absenteee and provisonal ballots that still need to be counted,” he said.

Calls to the Warren County Board of Elections for provisional ballot figures were not returned.

The five-year levy is predicted to generate approximately $3.23 million annually, costing the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $23 every year.

Contact this reporter at (513) 705-2871 or at rgauthier@coxohio.com.