NEWARK – Union Township Trustee President Rick Black can add another title– Republican Licking County Commissioner candidate.
Tuesday, Black received 5,041 votes to take the Republican nomination over Michael Fox with 3,582 votes, and Doug Kanuckle, with 2,524 votes, according to unofficial results. All three candidates were vying to replace long time Licking County Commissioner Doug Smith who is retiring this year.
“We’re catching our breath and regrouping,” said Black as he was collecting campaign signs Wednesday morning. His next challenge is to take on Democratic commissioner candidate Mark Van Buren and Libertarian candidate James Snedden, Jr. in the November election. Both Van Buren and Snedden ran unopposed Tuesday.
Black said his victory was a collaborative effort. “We won this campaign with a lot of hard work from a lot of good people,” he said, adding that he particularly thanks his wife, Beth, for her support and assistance. “Everybody’s work paid off,” Black said.
Black said his message for the November campaign is clear. “It’s just good government run as efficiently as possible,” he said. “Don’t grow the government; don’t grow it at all.” Black said he would focus on fiscal responsibility during his campaign.
In other Tuesday election results:
• Kirkersville’s 3-mill operating levy was renewed by a 49 to 41 vote. “(The levy) was due to expire,” said Mayor Terry Ashcraft, so it was placed on the ballot with no additional millage. “It’s just what we’ve had in the past,” he said. “We have to try to get by on the tax money we have.” Ashcraft thanked everyone who supported the levy. He said voter turnout was low because Kirkersville residents must now vote at a York Road location, several miles from town.
• Union Township’s electric aggregation issue was approved by a 405- 229 vote. Residential and small business AEP customers are now able to seek a lower rate for the electric generation portion (typically about 50 percent) of their electric bills. Savings of about 20 percent are expected with a typical household saving about $115 a year.
State law excludes co-ops from aggregation so Energy Cooperative and South Central Power customers are not able to participate.
Participants will still receive one monthly bill from AEP, which will include both the electric generation charge and the transmission/ delivery charges that AEP will continue to provide.
“I’m happy that voters agreed to let us try to save them money on their electric bills. Our consultant will be putting together a bid package seeking the best deal for our residents,” said Union Township Trustee Charles Prince. “Unfortunately by state law, only AEP customers will be able to participate. We’ll keep residents informed as the supplier selection process moves along. AEP customers who don’t want to participate will be able to opt-out at no charge.”
Buckeye Lake voters didn’t have quite as far to travel to the polls Tuesday as they did during the November election when all Buckeye Lake Village, Hebron, and Union Township residents voted at the Union Township Complex on Beaver Run Road. This time, Buckeye Lake Village and Hebron residents voted at the New Life United Methodist Church across from the Hebron Municipal Complex on West Main Street.
Still, Buckeye Lake Mayor Clay Carroll wishes the county would reopen a polling place in Buckeye Lake Village. “The new polling location in Hebron was a little easier access for myself than the previous location, but due to the fact that a large percentage of our residents do not drive I still feel we would be better served by a location within the village limits,” he said Wednesday. “I believe we only had about a 28 percent showing for yesterday’s elections.”
In Perry County, Todd Shafer bested Jeremy Seals by a 530-506 margin for the Democratic nomination for county commissioner. Shafer will challenge incumbent Perry County Commissioner Dave Frericks in November. Frericks is finishing former commissioner Lonnie Wood’s term, who resigned amid scandal in 2012.
• Thornville voters approved Village Lanes’ request for a liquor option by a 91 -36 tally favor to 36 against, and approved Sunday sales by a 87-41 vote.
Village Lanes co-owner Craig Smart thanked voters for supporting a full liquor license, but added that his main concern now is whether the village will approve liquor sales because the bowling alley is within 500 feet of a village park. Granted, said Smart, the areas of the park closest to the bowling alley are rarely used, but nonetheless they are part of the park.