Four Springfield residents will vie for three commission seats

Feb 13, 2017
A line of voters stretches out the door and around the parking lot of the Clark County Board of Elections as people wait for over an hour to cast their vote during early voting last year. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Four Springfield residents — including two incumbents and two political newcomers — will vie for three seats on the city commission on the November ballot.

The Clark County Board of Elections certified the ballots at Monday’s meeting – meaning incumbent commissioners Joyce Chilton and Dan Martin will compete against challengers Rob Rue and David Estrop at the polls on Nov. 7.

Martin, an assistant attorney general for environmental enforcement for the state, is seeking his sixth consecutive four-year term on the commission. Chilton, a freelance paralegal who retired from the Clark County Public Library, is vying for her third consecutive term.

Rue is the co-owner of Littleton and Rue Funeral Home, and Estrop is the former superintendent for Springfield City School District. Both are first-time political candidates.

Without seven or more candidates, there will not be a primary for the city commission this spring, Director Jason Baker said.

MORE: More candidates consider Springfield city commission run

Three other candidates — former city manager James Caplinger, financial planner Brett Bumgarner and resident Richard Smith — all pulled petitions but decided not to run.

Current Springfield City Commissioner Karen Duncan isn’t seeking re-election and plans to end her 12-year political career. She was the leading vote-getter when the three seats were last on the ballot in 2013. All three incumbent commissioners — Duncan, Chilton and Martin — were re-elected that year, beating out challenger Dan Harkins, a local attorney.

In May, voters will decide multiple city and school funding issues, including the city of Springfield’s second attempt at a tax increase. Without a primary, the city will be on the hook for the entire cost of the election in Springfield, which will likely be about $40,000, he said.

The city wants voters to approve increasing taxes from 2 percent to 2.4 percent for 5.5 years. If approved, the tax would generate an additional $6.7 million annually. For a worker making $30,000 a year, the tax would cost an additional $9.75 per month.

A similar issue failed by 227 votes in November.

RELATED: Ohio Auditor: Springfield approaches ‘fiscal cliff’

Other issues to be decided by voters in May include:

• Greenon Local School District residents will decide on a 6.98-mill bond to build on K-12 school building. If approved, taxpayers who own a $100,000 house will spend an additional $244 annually, or about $20 per month, for 37 years to pay for the new school.

• Clark-Shawnee Local Schools again will ask voters to approve a 5.3-mill bond that would bring a new elementary school to the district and renovate the high school. Voters rejected the same plan in November. The 37-year tax would cost an owner with a $100,000 home about $183 a year, or about $15 a month.

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• A 5-mill, five-year levy to hire more police officers will be decided by Enon voters. A similar proposal was also rejected in November. It will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $175 annually, or about $14 per month.

A May election will not be held in Champaign County, officials said.

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