Misplaced decimal plagues ballot levy

Mistake could result in 90 percent reduction of funds raised

By Sam Wildow - swildow@aimmedianetwork.com

MIAMI COUNTY — A misplaced decimal point could result in significantly less funds raised by the Troy Parks and Recreation Levy — exactly 90 percent less than what the group behind the levy was hoping to raise.

A concerned voter emailed the Miami County Board of Elections on Wednesday in regard to the wording on the Troy Parks and Recreation Levy on the Troy ballot, which states a rate of 0.201 mill for each one dollar of valuation. The ballot says this amounts to $0.201 for each one hundred dollars in valuation, but it is actually a mathematical error as the correct amount for that millage is actually $0.0201.

“The city transposed a decimal place,” Deputy Director Eric Morgan said during the board’s meeting on Thursday.

It appears that the intended millage was supposed to be 2.01 when it actually says 0.201 on the ballot. Voters are actually voting on raising approximately 2 cents for each one hundred dollars in valuation instead of the intended 20 cents. This means that if this levy passes, this mistake could possibly result in raising only 10 percent of the funds the city of Troy is attempting to raise for the purpose of parks and recreation. Instead of raising $1 million per year for 10 years, the city of Troy would only get $100,000 per year for 10 years.

Morgan explained that the ballot language was provided by the city of Troy and approved by the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office before the ballots were certified in September. The city of Troy would have also been provided a proof of the levy on the ballot before the ballots were certified. The Troy Council also approved the incorrect language in an ordinance in May.

The levy was initiated by a grassroots organization called “Operation Recreation 2020.” While the levy issue is not a city-led effort, the ballot language was drafted and submitted by the city of Troy.

The Miami County Auditor was the only one to approve the correct language and math, which was approved in May and was a rate of 2.01 mills to result in approximately 20 cents for each one hundred dollars of tax valuation.

The board’s office contacted the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office and the city of Troy on Thursday afternoon to alert them to the issue and find out what the board needs to do. As the language was provided by and approved by the city of Troy, it was determined that it was not the board’s mistake. The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office advised the board that it is up to the legal counsels for the city of Troy and the board.

“It’s their mistake,” Morgan said. “So their law director has to get with our legal counsel to come up with a solution if there is any. And if not, it’s up to the city to figure out what to do after the election.”

Whatever the city of Troy Law Director Grant Kerber and the board’s legal counsel decide is subject to approval from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. As of now, the board will make no changes to the ballot and they are not posting any signs explaining the incorrect math in the ballot language.

Kerber was informed of this issue during the board’s meeting.

“I’ve learned of this less than five minutes ago,” Kerber said. “I understand there’s a decimal issue or something along those lines … I can’t make any commitment without learning more of what the identified issue is.”

“What happens from here is in your court,” board member Jose Lopez said.

City of Troy’s director of public service and safety Patrick Titterington declined to comment until further review of the issue.

Also covered in the board’s meeting, Morgan gave the board an update on early voting. According to Morgan, there were 17,656 requests for early voting, including absentee ballots and in-office votes. Approximately 6,000 of those votes were cast at the board’s office. Their busiest day so far was Wednesday, which saw approximately 600 voters in one day.

The board also approved a contract with the West Milton Rotary at a cost of $10,500 for Rotary members to deliver the voting machines to polling locations on Election Day on Nov. 8.

Early voting hours continue at the board’s office, which is located at the Miami County Courthouse at 215 W. Main St., Troy. They are as follows: Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The hours for voting on Tuesday, Election Day, will be from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at all polling locations.

Mistake could result in 90 percent reduction of funds raised

By Sam Wildow


Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@aimmedianetwork.com or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@aimmedianetwork.com or (937) 451-3336