Four things to watch in May 4 election

By Staff Reports -

Elizabeth Hardesty

Elizabeth Hardesty

Joshua Hayes

Joshua Hayes

Sharetta Smith

Autumn Swanson


See past coverage of the Lima mayoral race at


Lima will be replacing David Berger, a mayor who served for 32 years, with a candidate who has never been elected to a public office. The top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary election will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.


Occupation: Geologist

Quote: “It appears any challenge to this current administration’s philosophy is met with fierce rejection and retaliation. My administration will be open to new ideas rather than taking a ‘my way or the highway’ approach.’”

In 100 words: Hardesty is about change.

She plans to increase the number of police, eliminate the mayor’s chief of staff position and replace it with a safety service director and use $10 million of stimulus funds toward improving housing.

She also believes city hall needs to be more open to working with the county and townships in early stages of projects.

“The time for studies and focus groups has passed. We will only learn the same lessons learned with previous housing studies. Now is the time for big ideas and big actions to reverse the decline in home ownership in Lima,” she said.

Ouch factor: Claims have been made that Hardesty has not lived in the city long enough to be able to run for mayor. The Allen County Board of Elections has ruled she meets residency requirements, but the matter is now going to court.



Occupation: Chiropractor

Quote: “Our local government has been an insider’s club for too long. It’s time for the people to see that we can have something different.”

In 100 words: Hayes believes Lima needs to add new approaches to solve old problems such as crime and housing. He wants to put a bigger focus on crime prevention instead of reacting to crime.

“If we truly want to see different results, we have to expand our understanding and change how we are addressing these matters,” Hayes said.

He calls for a review of code enforcement to make sure landlords and homeowners are keeping their properties maintained.

He wants “your government’s business to be your business. … a government that represents the people and not just small special interest groups.”

Ouch factor: Hayes was placed on five years probation by the Ohio State Chiropractic Board after a fifth-degree felony conviction in the state of Minnesota on marijuana possession charges. His license to practice as a chiropractor was suspended for one year (with six months of that suspension stayed) after an investigation by the Ohio State Chiropractic Board cited him for nine violations, six of those regarding the treatment of patients. Hayes was ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.



Occupation: Chief of staff for Mayor David Berger

Quote: “What I’m hearing in conversations I’m having with citizens is that people are excited about the future of Lima. They see a better day; a better future. I have built a consensus with people of different ages, races and backgrounds and we’ve done some amazing things by working together.”

In 100 words: As Mayor David Berger’s chief of staff, Smith oversees seven city departments and 400 city workers. Smith says she is the only candidate who can start at full speed from Day 1.

“While I have learned a lot about the challenges of city government, Lima’s next chapter will require leadership that brings experience, fresh perspective, and expertise,” Smith said.

She will focus on growing businesses, supporting safety services and improving neighborhoods.

“We live in a time where citizens want government to be responsive to their needs. It’s all about being efficient and fiscally responsible,” she said.

Ouch factor: Smith’s money-management skills have drawn questions. She has been sued numerous times for non-payment of bills. She does not deny the fiscal troubles, saying they occurred when she was a single mother working her way through college.



Occupation: Resigned as Lima’s neighborhood specialist to devote time to her run for mayor

Quote: “I’ve seen what can happen to government without a plan. Our neighborhoods have become neglected, new development is scattered and incoherent, and projects look more like Band-Aids than a planned direction for the city.”

100 words: Believes strong neighborhoods make for a healthy Lima. Advocates for opening a Community Oriented Policing satellite office in all of Lima’s wards. Wants to create a “Department of Neighborhood Elevation,” complete with weekly meetings with the mayor to help address neighborhood concerns. She believes in strong code enforcement.

Would like to see Lima and Allen County collaborate on a restoration plan for Memorial Hall. Envisions it as a future location for Lima City Hall.

“The city of Lima has been under the same management for nearly three decades. … We really need to focus on hearing our residents’ voices,” she said.

Ouch factor: Swanson was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated Feb. 20. She was found guilty of a lesser charge, physical control.. Her campaign said she pulled off to the side of the road to use her phone, and the vehicle became stuck in the snow.

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There’s one countywide issue on the ballot in Allen County, but there aren’t countywide issues in Auglaize or Putnam counties.

Children Services

• Seeking: 0.5-mill, five-year levy renewal. Levy first approved in 1996 and has continued to be renewed for the past 25 years.

• The need: Used for the care and placement of children throughout the county.

• What it costs: Continues $1.50 a month or $17.50 a year for homeowner of $100,00 property.

• If it doesn’t pass: Risk of children in unsafe homes.

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Shawnee residents will be voting on another two money issues in addition to children’s services. Both of the local requests are for new money.

Police levy

• Seeking: Renew 2 mills that expired at the end of 2020 and an additional 1.5 mills for five years.

• The need: Dealing with the shortfall in 2021 when snafu kept renewal levy off ballot.

• What it costs: $10.21 a month or $122.50 a year for homeowner of $100,00 property.

• If it doesn’t pass: Services, personnel will be cut.

School levy

• Seeking: $2.2 million, five-year levy. Second time levy sought in three years. Defeated in 2018.

• The need: Hasn’t had levy pass since 2004. Operating at a deficit since 2009 that fluctuates between $1.8 million and $2 million.

• What it costs: $13 a month or $161 year for homeowner of $100,000 property

• If it doesn’t pass: Seek another levy. Will rely on one-time $1.8 million in pandemic-relief dollars anticipated this spring.

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If you have a job and live in Cridersville, you’re being asked to pay more to fund the police department.

• Seeking: Raising the village income tax to 1.5% from 1%.

• The need: Full-time police protection.

• Current salaries: In 2020, the village employed a police chief ($62,920), a lieutenant ($54,693), three full-time officers at a rate of $14.50 per hour, five part-time officers at $12 per hour and a part-time detective at $5,000 annually.

• If it doesn’t pass: Could be looking at a part-time departmental status instead of the full-time service.

Elizabeth Hardesty Hardesty
Joshua Hayes Hayes
Sharetta Smith Smith
Autumn Swanson Swanson

By Staff Reports


See past coverage of the Lima mayoral race at

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