As the 2016 presidential race only begins to heat up, area citizens can focus their political attention to the local level, as the deadline for petition to run for local office ended August 5.
Village of Bellville
According the Richland County Board of Elections, Victor Swisher and Rich Osborn are the candidates running for two vacant Bellville Village Council positions.
Swisher was appointed to council in 2014, filling the vacant seat left by Bill Sheriff who passed away while in office.
“I just want to do what I can to make Bellville as good as it can be,” he said when asked his goals if elected. “I just was having trouble figuring out how to juggle work, a new son along with my wife being so busy. I would like to grow the options of entertainment in town.”
Osborn is a politically active resident of note, appearing at many council meetings throughout the year.
Current Bellville Mayor Darrell Banks has also entered into this year’s mayoral race, presently running unopposed.
Village of Butler
In the Village of Butler, Joshua Haring is the lone filed candidate for two vacant council positions, and no one filed to run for mayor.
Jefferson Township is facing a tight race for one vacant township trustee position. Frederic Ackerman has filed to run, as has Rob McConkie.
The township’s fiscal officer position is also up for election and David Taylor has filed to run.
Clear Fork School Board
Randall Freeman stands as the only candidate filed for a position on the Clear Fork Valley Local School District Board of Education. The school board has two vacant positions.
In addition to general elections, voters must decide on several issues on November 3. Bellville residents are set to vote on a tax levy to improve village streets throughout a five-year plan.
The village will also vote on a series of aggregation proposals for their electric and gas utilities. The initiatives are said to decrease citizen’s rates.
Voters must also decide on two county tax levies that are set to renew funding for Mental Health and Recovery Services and Richland Public Health, respectively.
While some elections do not have an adequate number of candidates to fill available offices, Richland County Board of Elections Director Paulette Hankins reminds voters there is still another way candidates can run for positions.
“People may still file as a write-in candidate until Monday, August 24 at 4 p.m.,” she said. At which time, the board will review again review all candidates.
Polls open are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on November 3.