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Board of Elections mistake may cut short Delaware career center construction

Bosco-Delaware Area Career Center people.jpg

A mistake by the Delaware County Board of Elections has a construction project at the Delaware Area Career Center in limbo. The board failed to put a 2015 levy in front of all of the eligible voters, leading the state to refuse to collect the tax.

The center, where 1,400 students learn trades, including law enforcement, emergency medical technician, cosmetology and more, serves school districts in Delaware County. Some of those school districts stretch into neighboring counties. When the board placed a 2015 levy on the ballot, it failed to include the outlying counties.

The board discovered the mistake in December of last year, when the Ohio Department of Taxation asked for forms to certify the tax rate for 2017. When the state discovered the mix-up, it refused to collect the tax as scheduled on January 1.

A spokeswoman for the county board of elections called it a mistake.

"In this case, we believe, it just somehow missed," said Jane Hawes.

Complicating the situation is the fact that the center is in the midst of a huge construction project which would unite the two campuses of the center, which are currently 7 miles apart. The superintendent for the career center said that at some point, if the issue is not cleared up soon, the center will run out of money to pay contractors building the expansion. It's not clear when that will happen, said Mary Beth Freeman.

"At what point do we press pause on the construction project," she wondered.

The county has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to force the state to collect the tax, pointing out that the levy passed by more than 10-thousand votes. Even if all of the 1026 voters who didn't get a chance to vote turned down the measure, the levy would have passed handily

"The will of the voters, really and truly is, this levy did pass," said Hawes.

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