Voters across the county turned out to cast their ballots on Tuesday, April 2.
Livingston County voters chose not to pass an operating levy for the Chillicothe R-II School District while Chillicothe voters chose Theresa (Gatson) Kelly as their new mayor in today’s elections.
Cheers could be heard from a group of supporters when all the ballots were counted and posted showing Theresa (Gatson) Kelly had been elected as the next mayor of Chillicothe with 56.85 percent of the voters. She defeated current Mayor Reed Dupy who has held the position for just over a year. Dupy earn 595 votes or 40.75 percent. Kelly earned 830 votes.
“My sincerest thanks to all who voted for me and supported me through my successful bid for mayor,” Kelly said Wednesday morning. “I will do my best to ensure this city will continue to grow and prosper. I can ensure everyone that through the dedication of city government and the wonderful citizens we can continue to make this city a place where people will want to live, work and raise their families.”
Dupy was appointed as mayor in 2018 after the sudden death of the then-mayor Chuck Haney.
On Wednesday morning, Dupy said, “I am happy for the city and know it will go in a good direction. There are good leaders who will continue to lead us in a good direction.”
Voters were asked to approve an operating levy for the Chillicothe R-II School District. The district was asking to increase the operating levy to help cover the rising costs of transportation and to be able to increase teachers salaries and continue capital improvements. Before voting Superintendent Roger Barnes said cuts would have to be made and the school’s reserve fund would have to be used to cover the rising costs and underpayment of funds from the state. Voters defeated the issue with 1,328 votes being cast to not increase the levy and 951 “yes” votes. It only took a simple majority to pass or defeat the measure.
Barnes responded to the defeat of the measure saying, “Certainly I am disappointed. The board will need to decide when to run the Operating Tax Levy again. If in August then that decision will be made in May. If the levy continues to fail, then adjustments to the district operations will need to take place. Those adjustments likely will affect student services and personnel.”
Sherry Parks, Livingston County Clerk and Election Authority said for any time to get on the August 6 ballot it would have to be filed with her office by May 28. She said this is an off year, with no primary’s and currently there is nothing filed for a Livingston County ballot in August.
Tuesday’s elections also included voting three new members onto the Chillicothe R-II School Board, those new members will also have a hand in deciding whether or not to take the operating levy back to voters.
There were two open seats for a three-year term on Chillicothe R-II School Board, Bill Hayen received 1,338 votes and Clint B Williams received 836 votes. Ricky A. Baker, was defeated with 825 votes and Carrie Pfeifer with 534 votes. Voters chose Brice Walker for the one-year term with 1,566 votes to Gene Moyer 365.
“I appreciate the support form everyone who supported me and I look forward to working with teachers and administrators to ensure our school continues to go in a good direction.”
Hayen also noted that with the defeat of the operating levy, the board would have to make a decision to take it back to the voters.
“From what I heard there was support, but many people did not feel there was enough information about where the money would be going or what it is needed for,” he said. “Funding is getting cut and we are drawing into reserves but you cannot do that for long. To stay competitive with wages and avoid cutting students services we will need to take a look at an operating levy again.”
New school board members will be sworn in at the Chillicothe R-II meeting on April 16.
Roze Frampton ran unopposed for the position of city clerk and will continue to represent the city in that capacity, as she has done since being elected in 1999. Current Assistant City Auditor Hannah Fletcher ran unopposed for the position of city auditor, she has served as assistant city auditor for a year, working closely with Mayor-Elect Kelly. Fletcher said she feels confident she has learned the skills needed to do the job of auditor well.
Tom Ashbrook also ran unopposed for another term as councilman at large and Wayne Cunningham was unopposed in his race for Second Ward councilman. Pam Jarding is once again the Fourth Ward councilperson after having been appointed to the council earlier this year and running unopposed in her election.
Incumbent Dennis Albertson, Jr., was once again elected First Ward City councilman, with 431 votes. His opponent Adam Brown, currently services on the city’s Board of Adjustments. Brown received 148 votes.
During his campaign Albertson said while maintaining good city services and strengthening the infrastructure of the city were priorities, he was also looking to the future and said he hopes to focus on attracting and keeping young people here.
“I feel we need to find opportunities that entice our young adults to stay and raise their families in our community.”
Michael Smith beat out two other candidates for the office of Third Ward councilman. Smith earned 78 votes while Buell Applebury received 62 and John E. Plaster, 32 votes.
During his campaign, Smith said, “I chose to run for Third Ward councilman in order to be a voice for our city employees and also the Third Ward constituents. They shouldn't ever feel as if their voice or their concerns are going unheard,” he said. “I also want to serve my community by being a part of helping Chillicothe continue to grow and prosper.”
City officials will be sworn into office at 12 p.m., on April 10 at City Hall.
On April 2, Livingston County voters also decided on a variety of issues within smaller townships and for county-wide seats.
There were two open seats on the Livingston County Health Center Board and voters chose Harry Lockridge with 1,350 votes; and Alvina Ann Benskin with 1, 261; defeating Shannon Jordan with 819 votes. There were eight ballots cast with write-ins.
Jordan was a first-time candidate for the position. Both Benskin and Lockridge have held their seats on the board for decades.
Three candidates ran for two seats on the Board of Education for the Livingston County R-I School Board. Bryce Anderson earned 126 votes; Clint Gilliland, 116 and Stanton Warren received 77 votes.
Jamie L. Reeter was elected trustee for Jackson Township; David Beck for Rich Hill Township.
Shannon Jones was named trustee for Blue Mound; and Brian Bowman was elected trustee for Chillicothe Township.
Chad Crawford defeated Rita Jacobs with a vote of 33-3 for the position of trustee of Medicine Township.
Jim Gates and Ron Hughes beat out David Brown for a position as a board member with Chillicothe Township.
Austin Campbell received 36 votes; Clinton Campbell 34 votes for the position of board member of Medicine Township. They defeated Deans Jacobs and Ronald Eckert who each received two votes.
Jackson Township voted “yes” with 44 ballots to 33 to pass the road question.
In Blue Mound, voters passed their road question by a vote of 47-33. And in Medicine Township the road question also passed with a vote of 24-14. However, Rich Hill defeated the road question with a vote of 67-54.