By Mike Sever | Staff Writer
The Portage County Health District pulled within 746 votes of passing Issue 43, a replacement for its 55-year old levy.
Where does the Portage County Health Department go next in its search for improved funding? Coming so close on a replacement after years of wide margin failure on new levies has the health district commissioner wondering what to do next.
“Do we go for a replacement or a renewal? Was it close because it was a presidential election?” wondered Health Commissioner DuWayne Porter on Thursday.
He and the health board would have to talk before deciding what to do — go for a straight renewal of the existing levy or another replacement, Porter said.
Issue 43 won support in nine of 16 jurisdictions voting, winning in Aurora, Brady Lake, Garrettsville, Mantua, Hiram, Sugar Bush Knolls, and the townships of Franklin, Hiram, Rootstown and Shalersville. Residents of Kent and Ravenna did not vote on the issue because they have their own health departments.
The vote difference was 27,457 for the levy to 28,203 against, according to the unoffiical tally by the Portage County Board of Elections.
Porter said he was surprised the issue didn’t get more support in some areas.
“Of all these, I think Suffield and Randolph are the ones that stump me,” he said.
The health district worked very hard with Randolph residents when the county had to put a new sewer line in the township center because of failing septic systems.
“Randolph really needed it. The ditches ran black,” with untreated waste, Porter said.
“I wouldn’t trade votes for what we did down there. I think we did a good service for the community,” he said.
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