Portage to vote on health levy but polls in Kent to be closed

Ted Hamilton

Lt. Col. Ricardo Mitchell presents the Marshall Award to Cadet Lucy Bednarz. The award is given to the most outstanding army cadet in the country. Bednarz was selected from almost 300 students to receive the award. Glennis Siegfried | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Today is usually the day the city’s primary election takes place, but the polls in Kent will remain closed.

All council members are running unopposed in the primary and there are no city issues on the ballot for voters to vote for or against.

This occurs in the wake of several council members having to face a special recall election in January. The recall came after members voted to place a .5 percent income tax reduction for Kent residents working outside the city.

Citizens of Kent voted to keep all five members who faced the recall.

Several issues will be voted on, however, at the county level. One such issue is a levy for the Portage County Health Department. The levy would help fund general operation expenses and reinstate programs that have been canceled due to lack of funds.

The county’s health department has been forced to reduce programs and services offered to residents.

“In the last 20 years we have continually decreased our staff,” said DuWayne Porter, Portage County health commissioner.

The health department might not be able to conduct all of its current programs under its budgets. The current swine flu outbreak has brought further stress on the department and pushed its budget to the limit, Porter said.

Porter said he hopes the levy will pass so the county can offer different screening programs and immunization clinics for the public.

The city is not affected by the health levy because Kent has its own health department, Porter said.

The levy will generate approximately $1.1 million annually for five years.

Although Kent polls are closed, they will be open elsewhere in the county from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Contact public affairs reporter Ted Hamilton at [email protected].