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Levy sails with 65% of vote

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Yellow Springs voters gave an emphatic thumbs-up to the Village five-year property tax levy renewal, with 65 percent of voters approving the levy and almost 35 percent rejecting it at the polls on Tuesday, May 3.

The Yellow Springs levy won by a wider margin than any other municipal levy in Greene County; two Beavercreek municipal levies, which were replacements and increases for police and streets, squeaked by, and a Bellbrook replacement levy for police was defeated. All Greene County school levies that sought increases went down, while the school levy renewals, such as those for Xenia schools, passed by narrow margins.

Only about one-third of registered local voters went to the polls, with 1,088 voters turning out from a total of 3,462. However, that number is “a fairly decent turn-out” for a single-issue election, according to Greene County Board of Elections Deputy Director Llyn McCoy on Wednesday. The Yellow Springs turn-out also handily surpassed that of other Greene County communities, where overall 21.9 percent of voters went to the polls, McCoy said.

The Yellow Springs property tax levy was first passed by only a single vote in 2006. The 8.4-mill levy provides about $760,000 annually, or 25 percent, to the Village’s general fund, which funds almost all Village services other than utilities. The levy renewal does not raise taxes.

The levy campaign sparked controversy in the village in recent weeks and months. Levy supporters emphasized the range of services — from the Gaunt Park pool to the local parks, local police dispatch to mediation for neighbor disputes, youth recreation activities to economic development efforts — that Yellow Springers enjoy, all of which are funded by the Village general fund. Cutting the funding by one quarter, especially in the face of upcoming state funding cuts, would adversely affect the quality of life in Yellow Springs, levy proponents stated.

Opponents of the levy saw the vote as a referendum on Village Council, and emphasized Council’s recent support of affordable housing as evidence of fiscal mismanagement.

In Yellow Springs, the levy renewal found the most support in Precinct 442, the central and downtown part of the village. In this precinct, 73 percent of voters approved the levy, while 27 percent opposed it. The lowest levy support came from Precinct 441, the western part of the village, where 60 percent of voters said yes and almost 40 percent opposed the levy.

In Yellow Springs, Precinct 440 covers the northern section of Yellow Springs, Precinct 441 covers the western part, 442 is the center and downtown area, and 443 is the southern segment of the village.

Levy votes by Yellow Springs precincts are as follows:

Precinct 440, with 931 registered voters, of whom 311, or 33.4 percent voted: 195, or 62.9 percent, voted in favor; 115, or 37.1 percent, voted against.

Precinct 441, with 761 registered voters, of whom 244, or 32 percent voted: 147, or 60.49 percent, said yes, and 96 voters, or 39.5 percent, said no.

Precinct 442, with 1,011 voters, of whom 246, or 24 percent, turned out: 179, or 73 percent, voted yes, while 66, or 26.9 percent, voted no.

Precinct 443, with 759 registered voters, of whom 287, or 37.8 percent voted: 185, or 64.7 percent, voted in favor; 101, or 35.1 percent voted against.

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