MOUNT GILEAD — The Morrow County Board of Election (BOE) met Tuesday April 5 to hear the protest of a petition filed to repeal the 0.75 annual income tax for the Mount Gilead School District.

Six persons representing the effort to repeal the tax were present along with Mount Gilead School Board members, school administrators and their attorney Brodi Conover.

County Prosecutor Tom Smith was there to answer legal questions for the Board of Election members.

Conover’s first objection to the petition was the fact that petition forms had been check-marked for both the traditional and earned income tax. He said this makes it unclear which tax would be repealed.

BOE members rejected the attorney’s objection. All board members said they believed the intent of the petition was clear.

However, the board agreed that too many of the signatures were not signed correctly. Some of the persons circulating the petition forms had also signed the petition twice; once as circulator and once again on the same petition form.

321 signatures were needed for the petition to repeal the tax to go on the May 3 ballot. The board agreed that nine or more of the remaining 329 signatures were not acceptable.

The BOE voted unanimously not to certify the petition for the May 3 Primary ballot.

BOE Director Penny Porter noted that rules for submitting petitions and issues for the ballot are very exacting. Petitioners should have many more signatures than needed and circulators also need to review the rules ahead of obtaining signatures.

After the rejection by the BOE of this petition, Porter said there is a time limit of five years before the petition to repeal this tax can be submitted again.

William Griffith who brought the petition to repeal the tax said, “I really got an education on this.”

Griffith said after the meeting, “I got this petition because I believe the tax rates in Mount Gilead are too high.” He added that some other school districts in the county have less millage.

By Alberta Stojkovic

For the Sentinel