Signs in the lobby of the Aurora Memorial Library. Lyndsey Brennan/The Portager
By a razor-thin margin, voters approved a 1-mill levy to support the Portage County District Library, but the narrow tally will likely trigger an automatic recount that will decide the future of library programming.
The vote count was 9,912 to 9,846, according to unofficial results released Tuesday night. Local elections that end up inside a 0.5% margin trigger an automatic recount in Ohio.
“The official results will not be known until Nov. 23,” said Theresa Nielsen, deputy director of the Portage County Board of Elections. “Only after the official results are known will we be able to determine if there will be an automatic recount.”
The possibility of a recount didn’t fully dampen Library Director Jon Harris’s spirits.
“It’s probably going to go to a recount, but we’ll just say that, yeah, I’m pretty darn happy right now,” he said. “This is going to do a lot of good for a lot of people. … We’ve been close before, and it’s close now. But it’s never been close on the good side of things.”
He added: “This is an absolute textbook example of ‘every vote counts.’ And I want to thank each and every single one of them.”
The library levy would affect homeowners throughout Portage County except those in Kent and Ravenna, which have their own libraries. Homeowners currently do not pay anything for the Portage County District Library, which is among the worst-funded in the state.
“Libraries are important to their communities. PCDL relied on state monies…it needs the financial support from the county it serves,” said Debbie Rudy-Lack, a voter from Aurora. “And the passage of this levy will allow the system to provide more services to underserved areas of the county.”
Lyndsey Brennan is a Portager general assignment reporter. She is completing her master's degree in journalism at Kent State and is an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund internship program. Contact her at [email protected].