Voters in O’Fallon and Shiloh will have many items on their ballots next Tuesday. There will be races for local school boards, city and village government, township government, as well as two countywide sales tax referendums.
Polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. election day, Tuesday, April 4.
Early voting can be done from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 1 at the election department of St. Clair County Clerk’s Office.
School sales tax
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Voters in St. Clair County will decide whether they want to impose a countywide 1 percent sales tax increase to generate new revenue for schools to use toward their facilities.
Purchases like medications, groceries, services and vehicles would be exempt from the proposed sales tax increases.
By law, schools could only use the new tax revenue for specific infrastructure costs, like construction, renovation, maintenance and debt from previous work on their facilities. Advocates say using the sales tax revenue to repay debt would save taxpayers money because the districts wouldn’t need to tap into property taxes to cover that cost.
The new revenue also wouldn’t go through the Illinois General Assembly’s budget process, which means it wouldn’t be subject to state cuts. Instead, school districts would receive a portion of the money from their regional office of education based on student enrollment.
Public safety sales tax
Voters in St. Clair County will also be asked whether they support a separate 1 percent sales tax increase that would benefit public safety agencies, like police and fire departments.
That means St. Clair County could see its sales tax rates on general merchandise increase 2 percentage points if both sales tax increase referendums are approved by voters. Those rates currently range from 6.6 to 9.85 percent.
If a majority of voters say yes to a proposed 1 percent sales tax to bolster public safety in St. Clair County, the sheriff’s department will be able to hire more deputies.
The proposed 1 percent sales tax on general merchandise would generate an estimated $22 million a year, and $5.6 million is allocated for additional sheriff department personnel. The sales tax would be in place for 12 years if approved. The sales tax would not apply to groceries, medication or titled vehicles.
The sheriff’s department is looking to add personnel to its department, in addition to a jail expansion and renovation.
If the public safety sales tax referendum passes, 25 percent of the money, an estimated $5.5 million a year, would also be distributed to municipalities and fire protection districts in the county to bolster police departments and fire departments.
And, there would be $2 million a year allocated for probation services.
Paul Sullivan, a St. Clair County probation officer and vice president of the union that represents probation officers, has said the probation department is understaffed.
The union said the additional revenue would alleviate staffing issues for the department.
Money for probation comes from probation fees, electronic monitoring fees, as well as from the county and state. However, the state is behind $4 million to $5 million on probation payments to the county from the last six to seven years, county officials say.
In St. Clair County, the probation department has a case load of about 3,000 people. Of those, about 1,600 cases involve people who are medium to high risk or need intensive probation.
To handle those 1,600 cases, the St. Clair County Probation Department has 11 officers, bringing the average caseload to 140 to 145 per officer.
Sullivan said a probation officer overseeing sex offenders has 150 to 160 cases.
City of O’Fallon
Of the 34 write-ins filed in St. Clair County, five hail from O’Fallon where the municipal races such as mayoral, clerk, treasurer and aldermanic races are all contested.
▪ The mayoral race in O’Fallon has been a heated one thus far with Phil Goodwin, current city clerk of 16 years, challenging Herb Roach, current Ward 4 alderman of six years and former O’Fallon School District 90 Board of Education member of eight years.
▪ There are two candidates vying for the position of city clerk: Jude J. Hopper Sr., who is new to O’Fallon politics, and Jerry A. Mouser, who served as Ward 3 alderman for 19 years before moving to a new residence last year.
▪ There is one open seat for treasurer, but three write-in candidates who filed: David Hursey, who is the current treasurer of 16 years; Mary Lyam-Miller, who pulled out late from race; and, Kristi Vetri, former alderwoman of four years, former mayor of eight years, and, former township supervisor of four years.
▪ In Ward 4, the race for alderman has three candidates, Lisa Harley, Nathan Hubbard and Mark Morton.
▪ Frank S. Morski has a write-in challenge against Raymond Holden, the current Ward 6 alderman.
▪ What was once a four-way race in Ward 7 is now down to two men. Jon Burgmann and Robert Murray both pulled out late from the race, though their names will still appear in the ballot. The remaining candidates are Thomas Mitchell and Dan Witt.
▪ There are four open positions for the uncontested Central SD 104 Board of Education election race with one being a write-in candidate, Brent D. Whipple. The other three candidates are De Wonda McComb, Sarah Svoboda and George M. Vineyard.
▪ The contested O’Fallon Community Consolidated School District 90 Board of Education election race has no write-in candidates, 8 candidates and four open seats. There are three incumbents: John Wagnon, Steve Springer and Matt Lloyd, who was appointed in fall 2016, hope to have seats on the board after the election. The remaining candidates have not served previously: Jason Boone, Curt Iffert, Quennetta Chambers, John Rosenbaum and John Valentine. The Illinois Federation of Teachers’ (O’Fallon Classroom Federation of Teachers) publicly endorsed Wagnon, Springer, Boone and Iffert earlier this month.
▪ There are four open seats for O’Fallon Township High School School District 203 Board of Education with five candidates, of which four are incumbents. New candidate vying for a seat on the board is Laura Jacobi Van Hook, who is an associate adjunct professor at Lindenwood University, and wife to O’Fallon Chief of Police Eric Van Hook. One of the four incumbents is Lynda Cozad, who has been on the board since 2004, and has been president since 2011. Incumbent Keith Richter served on the O’Fallon CCSD 90 BOE for three terms of 12 years; and has been on the District 203 BOE since 2012. Former OTHS principal Stephen Dirnbeck is currently serving his first term on the board. Brett Schuette is also an incumbent.
▪ Uncontested four-year term race for the Shiloh School District 85 Board of Education has four candidates for the four seats: Holly Keller, Phillip J. Brunner, Alex Herrell and Kenneth T. Davis.
Village of Shiloh
▪ With three open spots for trustee, there are four candidates, two of which are incumbents: Tina Warchol (eight years) and Bob Weilmuenster (four years). The two other candidates are Kenny Bouas and Mark Herrmann.
There are no write-in candidates filed for any of the Shiloh races.
The race for the four trustee positions has nine candidates: Anthony Alvarez, Claude T. Cable, Montica Casey-Watt, Justin Gough, Tom Green, Linda Hoppe, James (Jim) L. Lemansky, Sr., Justin Renner and John Wilson.
▪ In O’Fallon Township, all races are uncontested.
▪ In Shiloh Valley Township, all races are uncontested.
How to vote for a write-in candidate
Anyone that is a valid write-in candidate has to have filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate with the St. Clair County Elections department, and will not be listed anywhere at the polling place or on the ballot, according to Laura Kaemmerer, county election supervisor.
“It’s kinda of like campaigning, so we don’t post write-in names anywhere here and they aren’t on the ballot either,” Kaemmerer said.
Kaemmerer said, even if the name is misspelled, or maybe the first name is listed but not the last, the judges are trained to recognize the intent of the voter for the write-in candidates filed with the county.
“Voters have to write the name and fill in the oval, or the vote won’t count,” she added.
▪ Darken the oval on the left side of the ballot, and
▪ Write the name of the candidate on the line