Residents across Belmont County had a variety of tax levies to consider Tuesday, including a school levy in Bellaire that again was shot down by voters.
The Bellaire Local School District was seeking approval of an additional 8.72-mill operating levy for five years that would have generated about $940,000 a year. Voters decided against it in a 2,419 to 1,802 decision, according to unofficial totals. Superintendent Tony Scott said he was disappointed the levy did not pass, but he was encouraged because the number of people who voted in favor of it had increased compared to last time.
School officials had tried to pass similar levies four other times since 2010 without success. In the meantime, they trimmed down their teaching positions from 120 to 80 and administrators from nine to four to save money.
Photo by Scott McCloskey
A resident walks past a row on campaign signs in Belmont County on Tuesday.
''The sun is going to come up tomorrow and we're going to do the best we can with what we've got,'' Scott said.
He noted despite the district's efforts, its debt burden still is at about $1.1 million - down from $3.8 million. He noted the district likely will seek to put another levy on the next election ballot.
''I don't think the public understands that the public has to support public schools,'' Scott said.
Meanwhile, the Belmont County 911 additional 1-mill levy for five years was approved in a 16,495 to 13,988 vote.
The purpose of the levy is to generate $1.1 million a year for five years for the purchase of a new radio system for the 911 communications system, along with new mobile radios for law enforcement and firefighters.
A similar levy was shot down by voters last year, but that was a continuous levy instead of a five-year levy.
Also approved was the Shadyside Village and Mead Township Fire District additional 4-mill levy for a continuing period of time. It received 1,640 votes in favor and 1,319 against.
The purpose of the levy is to generate funds to allow the district to hire and pay 14 part-time firefighters.
The Pease Township additional 1-mill levy for roads and bridges for a continuing period of time failed, received 1,019 votes against and 800 in favor. And the Pease Township additional 1-mill levy for operating expenses for a continuing period of time also was voted down, receiving 1,147 against and 686 votes in favor.