Absentee voting begins for city council recall in Upper Arlington

UPPER ARLINGTON, OH (WCMH)–Absentee voting for the Aug. 23 election to recall four members of Upper Arlington City Council began this week at the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Residents behind the effort cited grounds for the recall as:

  • Taxpayer deception associated with the passage of Issue 23 in 2014 increasing the City’s income tax from 2% to 2.5% wherein residents were told that 100% of the revenues generated would be used to repair and maintain roads, curbs, gutters, bridges, water and sewer lines, yet now the City intends to spend millions of dollars redesigning Northam Park; and
  • Lack of citizen input in the redesign of Northam Park, which now includes plans for a community center when Upper Arlington residents have on three previous occasions voted against having a community center; and
  • Denying citizens a vote on the redesign of Northam Park; and
  • Fiscal irresponsibility

Recall organizer Steve Buser says it’s the first time he’s felt so strongly about an issue involving Upper Arlington city government.

“We go to meetings and we’re just trivialized and dismissed,” Buser said.

Buser says voters were deceived in 2014 by city mailings promoting passage of Issue 23.

“We’re talking about repeated statements claiming that 100 percent, by law, 100 percent of the revenue from Issue 23 would go to critical items like curbs, streets, sewer and water line repairs – no mention of parks,” Buser said.

Resident Lisa McConnell says she understood when she voted in 2014 that some of the money would go for the park and she was excited by it. She believes the recall effort is founded disappointment by people who didn’t get what they wanted in the Northam Park redesign.

“We’re not all going to be happy,” McConnell said. “We each are going to want something different for the park. I think the job of the council is to hear the majority of us.. and do what we are asking them to do.”

Councilman John Adams, one of those targeted in the recall, says there was no attempt to deceive voters on Issue 23. He points to other literature that was mailed to all residents that clearly did mention that some of the tax revenue would go to parks.

Adams says the recall attempt is misguided. “We have elections every two years and if you don’t like the judgment or direction the city’s taking, you have an opportunity every two years to say so,” Adams said. “To have a recall in between because you don’t like what’s going on in a park…it just doesn’t make any sense.”

Early in-person voting will be held at the county board of elections at the following times:

  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays only Tuesday, July 26 through Friday Aug. 12
  • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15 through Friday, Aug. 19
  • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20
  • 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21
  • 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22

Local polling locations in Upper Arlington will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.  More than 27,000 voters are eligible for this election.

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