By Anna DeWine
XENIA — Ballot issues were discussed Thursday night during a Meet the Candidates event held at the Xenia Senior Center.
Greene County Tea Party hosted the event, in which all of the contested candidates were given three minutes to speak followed by an opportunity for one-on-one Q & A.
Voters chatted with uncontested candidates before the main event started.
Contested candidates who gave three-minute speeches included Robert Hackett (R), State Senate contestant for the 10th district; Matthew Kirk (D), Hackett’s opponent; Rick Perales (R), State Representative contestant for the 73rd district; Brian Housh (D), Perales’s opponent; Bill Dean (R), State Representative contestant for the 74th district, and Braydon Bevens (D), State Board of Education contestant.
Representatives for Donald Trump (R), Hillary Clinton (D), Ted Strickland (D), Robert Klepinger (D), Barb Niemeyer (D), Pat Fischer (R), Pat DeWine (R), and Nick Owens (R) spoke on their behalf, as well.
After all of the candidate speeches were over, two representatives took the podium to talk about the only two issues on the ballot that will affect all of Greene County.
The levies discussed were Issue 18, the Greene County Vocational Schools renewal and Issue 22, the Greene Memorial Hospital renewal.
David Deskins, Superintendent at the Greene County Career Center (GCCC), represented Issue 18.
As Deskins took the podium, he explained that the permanent improvement levy is a $.75 million levy. For a $100,000 home, that is about a $23 cost per family per year. This generates for the Career Center about $2.2 million per year, he said.
“The levy is utilized for us to work on facilities, structures, to be able to repair building needs. It also allows us to buy updated technology equipment for our students and allows us to keep the GCCC the leading career center in the region,” Deskins said.
Deskins noted his excitement in being a part of the Career Center, and his confidence in Ohio schools, teachers, and staff. Of the “many positive things going on” that the superintendent mentioned, he named the aerospace initiative and the recent record enrollment at GCCC.
This levy has been renewed for a little over 30 years. Deskins explained the push for the levy to become a continuing levy, which means it would not be on the ballot every five years.
“We need to continue the support — we are asking for your support on Issue 18. We ask that you vote “yes” for all of the students in Greene County,” Deskins concluded.
Jeff Brock represented the Greene Memorial Hospital for Issue 22.
The issue is a renewal of a $.5 million levy for five years. It costs about $15 per year per $100,000 property value. As a renewal, it is not a tax increase, Brock asserted.
“This is vital to Greene Memorial’s hospital operations, especially its emergency, cancer care and outpatient services like 3D mammography, as well as providing quality doctors and nurses,” Brock said.
Last year, 100,000 patients took advantage of the in-patient, out-patient and emergency department services at Greene Memorial Hospital, according to Brock. This year, he said, the emergency department alone will serve more than 22,000 patients. Greene Memorial Hospital has served Greene County for 65 years.
“No one can say for certain, no matter where they live in the county, when he or she might need emergency, cancer or diagnostic care. But this levy continues funding essential, life saving services and equipment so that Greene is there when someone needs us,” Brock said, “Greene County is one of the healthiest in Ohio and this levy helps to sustain that.”
The Board of Elections at 551 Ledbetter Road is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for early voting. Voters can also download an absentee ballot request form online at www.co.greene.oh.us.
Reach Anna DeWine at 937-502-4498.