Darlington elected Mt. Sterling mayor; West Jeff Schools levy passes

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(Posted Nov. 6, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

As a result of the Nov. 5 general election, Mount Sterling will have a new mayor come the start of next year, and Jefferson Local Schools will benefit from an influx of new tax revenue.

Marci Darlington (175 votes) won the Mount Sterling mayor’s race in a landslide over sitting mayor Billy Martin (66 votes) and Becky Martin (64 votes).

“I feel honored that the citizens of Mount Sterling have chosen to put their trust and faith in me as their mayor,” Darlington said. “Throughout the campaign, I have met people who have real concerns, unique ideas and hopes for a stronger, healthier community.

“My goal is to be transparent with the works of council and this administration and to listen with an open mind as, together, we move forward while learning from the past.”

Darlington is currently a member of Mount Sterling village council. She was appointed to an unexpired term earlier this year. Two years remain of the unexpired term. When Darlington takes office as mayor, village council will need to appoint someone to fill her council seat.

Becky Martin is a current member of village council. She will remain in that seat. Her term expires at the end of 2021.

In the other villages in Madison County and in the city of London, the incumbent mayors ran unopposed and won reelection: Patrick Closser, London; Ray Martin, West Jefferson; Darrin Lane, Plain City; Renee Hall, Midway; and Joseph Haney, South Solon.

All of the levies on the ballot passed. Jefferson Local Schools is the only entity that asked for completely new tax money.

The school district requested an additional 3.5 mills in property tax for the next seven years for emergency operating funds. Voters granted that request in a vote of 659-581.

“We are absolutely grateful to our community for their continuing support. When you’re attempting to get new money, that’s always a difficult levy to pass,” said Superintendent William Mullett.

The levy will generate $769,711 per year. The cost to the taxpayer will be $122.50 per year per $100,000 in property valuation.

“Bottom line, this levy will allow us to keep our existing programs and services,” Mullett said.

The school district ended the last fiscal year with an $800,000 deficit.

“This will go toward eliminating that deficit. We’re not going to build new things or necessarily hire new people. We’re going to keep on keeping on,” Mullett said.

Looking ahead, he said the district will not be on the ballot next year but likely will be back on the ballot in a couple of years asking for renewal of a 9.5-mill operating levy that has been on the books for nearly 40 years.

“And for the first time in about 50 years, West Jefferson is looking like it will get some growth. It’s still unknown what that growth may do,” Mullett said.

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