Six Republicans and two Democrats all are trying for three expiring at-large seats on North Ridgeville City Council.
May 4 primary voters will choose three of the Republican candidates to move on to the November general election. Both Democratic candidates will move on, meaning there will be five candidates trying for the three seats. The top three November vote getters earn those expiring seats.
All council terms are for four years.
Republican candidates include three incumbents, Council President Martin DeVries, Jason Jacobs and James Maleski. The Republican field is rounded out by candidates Steve Ali, Georgia Awig and Christina Doran.
The two Democrats who filed for the at-large seats are John Kevin McNulty and Paul Wolanski.
Avon Lake Ward 3 voters also will choose who will fill an unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2023. Council selected retired Bay Village Police Chief Mark Spaetzel to fill the unexpired term of late Councilman Gary Izo, who died Nov. 21 at age 71. Izo had resigned from council for health reasons Sept. 4.
Spaetzel is being challenged by Deanna Leitner. The board of elections listing for Avon Lake includes a primary in Ward 3. But no primary is needed as only two candidates filed for the Ward 3 seat, said Clerk of Council Valerie Rosmarin.
There are no issues on the primary ballot for North Ridgeville voters. There are two renewal levies before Avon Lake voters.
Issue 1 is a 2-mill renewal to benefit city EMS operations. The levy pays the cost of 10 department members, may fund purchase of a new ambulance and some paramedic equipment, according to City Council President Martin O’Donnell, who emphasized the levy would not increase taxes. The issue costs taxpayers with a home valued at $100,000 approximately $61 annually.
Issue 19 is a five year, 2.8-mill operating levy raising $2.4 million annually for the Avon Lake Public Library. Library officials emphasized passage will not raise taxes. The levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home $72 annually.
Polls in all cities are open 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Voters will be asked to decide on two long-running measures centered on the city’s annual street repair program, as well as its fire department.
Issue 3 is a request to renew a 0.25% portion of the city’s 2% income tax that is set aside each year to specifically address road repairs. Last year, it generated around $1.3 million. Eight streets in the city have been fully repaved since 2016 thanks to the funds set aside.
Issue 3 isn’t a tax increase, but rather a continuation of the funding allocation that has been in place since 2005. Usually put up for vote every eight years, it was last passed in 2013. The city’s street repair program is now in its 32nd year.
The Fairview Park Fire Department is asking voters to pass Issue 2, a 1-mill levy renewal that will cost residents $25 per year per $100,000 of home value.
Renewed without fail every five years since its inception in 1975, the levy brings in about $300,000 for the department annually, making up 12% of its operating budget. Funds are used for a variety of purposes, including firefighter salaries, equipment purchases and upgrades.
Already deficit spending and faced with looming cash balance shortfalls that could surpass $4.3 million by 2023, the North Olmsted City School District has placed Issue 9, an 8.5-mill operating levy, on the May 4 ballot. It will generate $7.2 million annually and cost residents $24.79 more per month per $100,000 of home value.
The district hasn’t asked for new operating dollars since 2010, and in July of 2020 considered adding a levy to the November ballot. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, district leadership felt it wasn’t the right time. After the schools’ five-year forecast revealed the coming budget deficits in November, the move was made to bring the tax increase to voters in May.
In the last 15 years, district leaders estimated that the city’s schools had lost $22 million in state and federal funding, as the costs of operation have continued to increase. There have been numerous measures taken to help ease the financial burden, such as the trimming of 69 positions through attrition and retirements, a soft hiring freeze, holding off on upgrades of textbooks and curriculum items, the streamlining of bus routes and also the closure of Butternut Primary School in 2018. Spruce Primary, currently the smallest of the district’s elementary schools, is set to close by the end of the 2021-22 school year.
Passage of Issue 9 would allow the district to continue its same level of education and extracurricular offerings currently in place. If it doesn’t pass, deep cuts to a variety of programs would likely occur.
The 7.9-mill levy passed in 2010 took three attempts. Previously, residents passed operating tax increases in 2002 and 2007.