OTTAWA — According to Tuesday’s election results, Putnam County residents like to pass levies. Without fail, every levy on the ballot in Putnam County, including both renewals and additional levies, got a thumbs up from voters to improve local services.
For Columbus Grove, that means additional dollars for its park and pool programs. The 0.25-percent sales tax increase to be collected over 15 years was approved with 446 voting for the levy and 303 voting against.
“We’re just greatly pleased,” Columbus Grove Mayor Kenneth Wright said. “I think the numbers that I had seen, the election went close to 60-40 percentage wise, and I’m very pleased with that.”
“You always hate to read too much into those numbers, but it certainly looks like the majority of the people are confident in our plans for the parks at this point. We’re really excited about it because I think this can do big things for Columbus Grove in the area of our parks,” Wright said.
Exit polling showed similar results concerning the village’s levy.
Brad Halker said he saw the levy as a positive way to get kids outside and playing instead of holing up inside staring at screens.
“Kids spend too much time these days playing video games and looking at their phones,” Halker said. “We have to have something better for them to go outside. I’m old school.”
Amy Schroeder, a mother with one of her four children in tow, didn’t have much to say about some of the more politicized races and issues, but she didn’t mind sharing her favorable opinions on the Columbus Grove park levy.
“I think its important to support our parks,” Schroeder said. “It’s about helping the parks get where they need to go.”
As for the village’s future park plans, Wright said it will take more than a year before the funds gathered from the levy are in the hands of the village, but now they know that it’s coming, he expects the first project will be addressing some safety issues at Hall Avenue Park, if other local officials agree to it. After that, the next project will be planned depending on what residents want.
“Until we hear back from the community, I don’t think we’re going to see anything definitive for a while yet,” Wright said.
Other levies passed with varying splits, but the majority showed solid support among residents. One of the closest was the additional levy requested by Monroe Township that would collect $1.5 million for road construction and repair. The levy passed by a slim margin with 399 voting for and 370 against.
As for statewide races, Putnam County continued its conservative streak. In 2018, voters continued to overwhelmingly choose Republican politicians over their Democratic rivals. In addition, election numbers varied by little when comparing statewide races with one another — evidence of many straight Republican tickets cast by Putnam County voters.
Turnout was also relatively high for a mid-term election. Of 23,828 voters in the county, 14,879 — or 62 percent — came out to vote.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.