PREBLE COUNTY — The upcoming primary/special election on May 4 will see a Republican primary for the open Eaton Municipal Court judge seat and a special election for three school district levies – College Corner, Preble Shawnee and Tri-County North.
Early voting is available until May 3 at the Preble County Courthouse during the following times:
Wednesday, April 28 through Friday, April 30 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m; Saturday, May 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m; Sunday, May 2 from 1-5 p.m; Monday, May 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For absentee voters, applications for absentee ballots mailed for the May 4 primary/special election must be received by the boards of elections by May 1 at 12 p.m.
Full coverage of the following issues and races as well as complete listings of polling locations can be found in the Wednesday, April 21 edition of The Register-Herald or online at https://www.registerherald.com.
Manning, Kalil vying for Eaton Municipal Court Judge seat
Candidates vying to run for the seat include Assistant Preble County Prosecuting Attorney Gractia Manning of Eaton, and Edmund Kalil of West Alexandria.
Manning holds a B.A. in Communications and a minor Political Science from Bethany College in West Virginia in 1992 and J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1997.
“I have been an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the Preble County Prosecutor’s Office for over 22 years. For the last 16 year in Eaton Municipal Court I have been solely responsible for prosecuting every misdemeanor case occurring in the unincorporated areas of the county for the Sheriff’s Office,” Manning said to The Register-Herald. I also prosecute misdemeanor cases for the Villages of Lewisburg, West Alexandria, New Paris and Gratis. I maintain a large felony caseload and administer the Felony Diversion program for the prosecutor’s office as well. I also gained experience sitting as acting judge in Miamisburg Municipal Court for Judge Robert Rettich.
According to Manning, crucial issues facing the office include lack of compliance in probation and ending the cycle of defendants arrested for felony offenses posting bond being released, only to end up back in jail days or weeks later.
Kalil, an attorney who operates in Eaton, has a B.A. from Niagara University in 1985 and a JD from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1988. Kalil has also served as a Republican Central Committee Representative for Lanier NW for three terms.
“I have practiced in the Eaton Municipal Court as an assistant county prosecutor; as well as an acting prosecutor for the City of Eaton, Village of West Alexandria and Camden handling both criminal and traffic cases,” Kalil told The Register-Herald. “As a private attorney within my general practice, I have handled criminal and traffic cases as well as civil cases, including evictions and small claims. I have been an Acting Judge for the Eaton Municipal Court on several occasions. I have also been the Acting Magistrate for this court.”
According to Kalil, crucial issues facing the office include utilizing drug addiction services in Preble County, giving the probation department “teeth,” adding a driver’s license clinic and upgrading software.
Preble Shawnee looks to pass five-year, 0.75 percent levy
Preble Shawnee Superintendent Dr. Matt Bishop once again urged community members to support the school district’s upcoming income tax levy.
The five-year, .75-percent levy, which would cost workers in the district less than a dollar for every $100 of income, has been defeated at the polls repeatedly since 2015, most recently in April and November of 2020. If the current levy passes in May, collections would begin in Jan. 2022, according to Bishop.
“Then it’ll be up to the taxpayers in five years to either keep it or let it roll off,” Bishop said.
Bishop stated that funds from the levy will be used exclusively for general operating costs.
“There’s nothing with renovation, nothing with new buildings. That ship has sailed,” Bishop said. “This is just keeping us moving forward instead of falling back.”
Meanwhile, the district has reduced operating costs by nearly $1 million in the past year, according to Bishop, by closing West Elkton Intermediate School and eliminating positions for three secretaries, two custodians, four food service workers, and one School Resource Officer. In addition, an assistant principal scheduled to retire during the coming year won’t be replaced.
If the May levy fails, however, additional cuts will have to be made. Bussing will be eliminated for grades 9-12, as well as for any student living within two miles of the school, according to Bishop, and 7-12 students will pay $400 per season ($1,600 family cap) to participate in athletics. Both changes would go into effect at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
Bishop cited a combination of factors which he feels have prevented the levy from passing so far, including “very strong emotions” stirred up by the failed building project levies, which have been on the ballot at least since Bishop took office in 2016.
“Sometimes you can have a ‘levy fatigue’ that makes it difficult for the district to communicate what the operational need is,” Bishop said. “As a result, some people may tune us out and say, ‘I don’t want to be part of that.’”
According to a five-year forecast presented to Board of Education members by Treasurer Lori Green in May, revenues for the district have fallen by more than $600,000 since 2019, and are expected to drop an additional $1.3 million in 2021 as a result of cuts to K-12 education ordered by Gov. Mike DeWine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tri-County North puts 10-year general operations levy on ballot
Tri-County North Local School District Superintendent Bill Derringer expressed confidence that the TCN community will vote to approve its upcoming renewal levy on May 4.
The 10-year general operations levy will not increase taxes, Derringer said, but instead merely renew a measure that’s been passed consistently by school district residents since 1994. The levy will raise $664,826 per year for the district and not a penny more, according to Derringer.
Unlike other levies, which can increase or decrease in the amount of funds they bring in based on the fluctuating income or property valuation of a district’s residents, the millage of the current levy is adjusted each year in order to always bring in a set amount.
“Normally a district gets more or less based on how many people build homes, or how much people are making,” Derringer said. “But this way if more people build homes, each person pays a little less.”
Derringer stated that the levy will cover general operations costs for the district.
“Everything from lighting bills to diesel fuel for the buses,” Derringer said. “Just the normal operating expenses to be able to maintain a school district.”