The fate of the Talawanda High School levy hangs in the balance, with the upcoming count of area provisional ballots set to begin this week.
Voters favored Issue 16, the $46 million levy intended to fund construction of a new high school, by a slim margin of 347 votes Nov. 4. So far, the Butler County Board of Elections recorded 7,392 votes cast in favor of the bond issue and 7,045 votes against it.
The levy would require a $12 monthly tax for owners of $100,000 homes.
In 2006, a similar problem surrounded Issue 11, a mental health levy that would increase taxes for citizens of Butler County. The margin in favor of the issue was less than 1,600 votes, with 5,100 provisional ballots yet to be processed. In the end, the provisional ballots had no effect on the outcome and the levy passed.
According to Nancy Piper, an administrative assistant for the Butler County Board of Elections, provisional ballots are not counted until after Election Day to provide time to research the validity of the voters’ identities.
Voters must cast provisional ballots if their name does not appear in the poll book, if the voter has changed his or her name and doesn’t have an updated voter registration, if the voter has moved into a different precinct from that where he or she was registered or if the voter refuses to provide identification.
By Ohio law, the final count of processed provisional ballots, also known as the Official Run, must be completed by Nov. 25.
Piper said countywide, more than 7,000 provisional ballots remain to be processed, although only 863 will affect the final results for Issue 16.
According to Piper, the date and time of the Official Run is yet to be determined.
Oxford resident Andrew Nixon-who voted for Issue 16-said he hopes the levy passes.
“I think a better high school will bring in better professors,” Nixon said. “Not only will it help the high school, but also the university.”
Although, he believes the levy is worthwhile, Nixon said he thinks the initiative may ultimately fail.
“I’d be really surprised if it passes,” he said.
However other Oxford residents, such as Charlie Tung, feel the levy will create a financial burden on citizens.
“It’s probably not the right economic time to pass a high school levy,” Tung said. “It would probably affect everybody because property taxes are passed down as higher rent.”