No primary for Gallia, special elections a possibility

By Dean Wright -

GALLIA COUNTY — Gallia County will not see a spring primary May 2 due to a lack of applying candidates in accordance with area ordinances to stipulate the need for a primary, however, special elections may still be held.

According to Gallia Board of Elections Deputy Director Dale Whitt, six candidates filed to run for a place on the Gallipolis City Commission as three seats will be open to vote upon. Seven would have had to file for a primary to take place. Gallipolis Municipal Judge Eric Mulford has no other Republican opponent running against him for Gallipolis Municipal Court Judge, so he will automatically be a candidate in the fall election. Independent candidates can still file up until the day before May 2 to run.

The last day to file for anything that would have been in a primary election was Feb 16, including ballot issues. Candidates running for a shot at Gallipolis City Commissioner are Albert “Tony” Gallagher, Beau Sang, Cody Caldwell, Aaron Buckley, Erin Buckley and Matt Johnson.

Board of elections members are set to meet Tuesday and discuss whether special elections will be held in the spring for a Rio Grande fire and policing operating levy as well as Gallipolis’ attempt to pass a one percent income tax increase to fund police operating needs. Whether special elections are held will be up to the board and the individual town officials.

Gallipolis City Commissioners voted to amend the ballot language earlier which would have said “A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage. Shall the Ordinance providing for a one percent (1%) increase on income for public safety operations and capital expenses … be passed?” Capital expenses was struck from the language of previous passage attempts.

The tax issue has previously failed twice. Gallipolis residents voted down the municipal income one percent tax increase, 598 to 303, during the May primary last year, and again, 725 to 652, during the 2016 November election.

Should the tax issue pass this time, it would increase the income tax already gathered in the city to two percent, as it was previously only one percent.

City officials have cut and combined positions in an attempt to save money over the last few years, citing major budgetary problems due to cuts in state spending and legislation changes. Officials have said they are concerned that they are unsure they can make further cuts to policing equipment and personnel without a drop in “services” to city residents. The income tax money would be placed in a special fund solely for Gallipolis Police Department spending, according to past city commission meetings.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright