Mueller, Gabram Win Highest Number of Unofficial Russell Votes
Rather than go door-to-door while campaigning for a third term as Russell Township trustee, Jim Mueller prefers to stay in one place to meet voters — the township’s recycling center.
“On Saturdays and Sundays, 200 to 300 people pour through there,” said Mueller, who received 22.55 percent of votes cast in Tuesday’s election, or 724 votes, according to final unofficial results of the Geauga County Board of Elections.
“They are people who care about the environment. They’re a joy to meet,” he said.
A former county commissioner and state legislator, Mueller said he has been serving the public for 43 years, so he clearly knows how to get out the vote.
His slightly unorthodox system earned him one of the two seats on the board of trustees.
Trustee Jim Dickinson chose not to run this election, so the second seat was hotly contended.
Gary Gabram, a township trustee from 1980 to 2000, received 697 votes, just 16 more than Kristina Port, who received 681 votes, or half of one percentage point less.
“It was a good time to come back in,” Gabram said Wednesday, adding the other contenders didn’t have the experience he has.
Linda O’Brien received 646 votes, Kenneth Armstrong received 409 and Randal Lupi, 54.
Board of elections Director Roberta Halford said Wednesday a recount of the votes is automatic if two or more of the race totals are less than half of 1 percent of the official results.
The election results will be certified on Nov. 22, she said.
Russell trustees placed three levies on the ballot and two were strongly supported by the voters.
The 1.1-mill additional continuing road levy passed with 937 votes or more than 53 percent, and the five-year, 1.5-mill replacement police levy received 1,021 votes or almost 63 percent, according to the final unofficial tally.
The cemetery five-year, 0.25-mill additional levy went down with 1,083 votes against it and only 631 in favor of it.
Mueller said the cemetery levy was the first he knows of in the county and maybe people didn’t fully understand its importance.
Also, while there were police and road department employees out and about, no one was campaigning heavily for the cemetery levy.
The levies are part of the township’s fiscal reorganization necessary due to severe cuts in state funding, which could have depleted the township general fund if the departments continued to draw on it.
“We really have to make sure they stay within their budgets: now that they have enough local tax money coming in to provide for operations, salaries and supplies,” Gabram said.
The police and road departments will have to start saving for equipment they foresee to be needed in the future, which means creating five-year plans for both, he said.
Trustees held several public meetings prior to the election to inform residents about the township’s need for the levies.
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