POMEROY — Disappointed, but optimistic and hopeful.
“We are not giving up,” said Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood on Tuesday morning after learning the bond issue he had asked the commissioners to place on the May ballot would be delayed until November.
Wood and Commissioner Tim Ihle, meeting with media after the board’s decision, both stated they understand and respected the decision made by the Meigs County Board of Elections that will keep the proposed bond issue for the sheriff’s office and correctional facility off the ballot, and will push forward to pursue the bond issue in November.
“If we had more time we could have just fixed it,” said Ihle, explaining that the issue appears to be the labeling of the matter on the submitted form as a “tax levy” rather than a “bond issue.”
While the decision by the board is not what Wood and Ihle had hoped, it will allow for more time to prepare for the action and possible outcomes.
When the decision was made in December to ask for the levy on the May ballot, they knew it would be a tight timeline to get everything done.
“It was a lot to do in a little amount of time,” explained Ihle. “In our efforts the language was not exactly right to suit them (Board of Elections).”
Ihle explained, as he had done at the meeting earlier on Tuesday, that the information was all in the paperwork, but the format was not right.
With the additional time — filing deadline is in early August — Ihle stated that they will work to clarify the language and go through the process again.
That process will begin with a letter from the sheriff to the commissioners requesting the bond issue, followed by the matter being forwarded to the auditor’s office for certification and a resolution from the commissioners to place the action on the ballot.
Ihle and Wood said they do not plan to wait until the deadline, with the bond issue to be resubmitted “soon.”
While it will delay the vote by six months, Wood and Ihle said that the delay will give more time to meet with residents and discuss the proposed issue.
Ihle said that the time will allow for the time to speak with constituents about the need for the facility and the process that is needed in order to fund and construct a facility like the one being considered.
Informing the voters, educating them on the tax process and the exact impact a tax could have on property owners, would give voters all of the information needed to make an informed and educated decision on the bond issue as they head to the ballot box, stated Ihle.
Wood plans to hold community meetings throughout the county in advance of the November election, as well as taking part in events such as the fair and other events to meet with members of the public to answer any questions or concerns.
Wood said he feels like they are doing the right thing by putting the bond issue before the voters and doing the right thing in pursuing the administrative office and correctional facility.
There are no plans at this time to change the millage being proposed or the 71-bed facility which is being considered.