Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Opticare Vision/Express Mobile Transport

Friday, November 2, 2012

FTM Straw Poll (Circuit Clerk, Sheriff, Library Tax)

The three races that have the most localized interest for Fort Thomas voters were covered by Ben, Jessica and Stephanie this morning. Circuit Court Clerk, Sheriff and the Library Tax races all deal with Campbell County specifically, so as opposed to being all over the map - these were the three races we dealt with in depth.

Unfortunately for Fort Thomas, we have only 6 candidates running for city council for 6 spots. Make sure you check out Jessica's article on those incoming and those already on council to give you a little more information about who they are and what they do for our city.

FTM is lucky to have writers who represent all sides of the political spectrum. I think that gives us more credibility to talk about political issues, even though our last three articles have not endorsed nor made predictions about how these elections will shake out.

We conducted a straw poll with the Fort Thomas Matters brain-trust to get a sense of how the elections for these races might turn out. Obviously it's not scientific. But we are about as informed as you can possibly be and with all of our different views in tact, we tackled the three races.

Here's how it turned out:

Circuit Clerk

  • Taunya Nolan Jack (R) Incumbent 4 - Mary Ann Mader Jones (D) 1
  • Dave Otto (D) 4 - Jeff Kidwell (R) 1
Library Tax
  • Against Tax 3 - For Tax 2

Taunya Nolan Jack has done a great job in her time as Circuit Clerk. She's brought the office into the 21st century, facilitated the move from the old District Court House, helped institute the CATS program (in home driver's classes to expunge moving violations) among others. 

Mader Jones' main platform of moving the driver's license office and renewal office to the same building is simply not enough to oust the incumbent. 

FTM feels that Jack should win reelection handily. 

The Sheriff's race is very talked about in political circles. This race actually started when John Dunn was asked to run for one more term in 2010, then abruptly retired. Dave Otto was handpicked and Jeff Kidwell, depending on who you talk to, handpicked himself. 

FTM feels that Otto's experience and name recognition should help him carry this race decidedly. 

The library tax issue, while not raising a lot of money between the two platforms, has become the hot topic on Fort Thomas and Campbell County ballots. 

The two articles written on FTM (for and against) received the most views (together) for the month of October. The discussion on our Facebook page got very heated and a lot of different ideas were discussed. 

FTM feels that this will probably be a close race, but ultimately, the tax will be voted down. 

On one hand, the community sees libraries as a good thing. The tax is not exorbitant, and when broken down in a year's time, the tax does not seem like that much money. 

On the other hand, a tax is a tax.  It's not a one time thing and in this economy, every dollar counts. The library is seen as a luxury (being the 4th one in the county) and not an absolute need.


  1. There was a single father of three kids who came to the public meetings about the South Branch last year who talked about how important the library was to his family. I don't think he saw a library branch as a luxury. There was a woman that came who had used the computers at the library to find a job. I don't think she saw libraries as a luxury. Many days, there are people literally lined up for public computers. Parents and grandparents come to story time with their children. Teachers tutor students in our study rooms. Is a library as important as fire protection? No. But we're not making that choice in this election. We're deciding whether or not a modest tax increase ($20 per year on a $100,000 property) is worth the wonderful things that a library brings to any community. Just like it brings to Fort Thomas and just like it can bring to southern Campbell County. JC Morgan, Library Director

  2. JC, the father of three that you mentioned was at the Alexandria meeting and stated his name. As you are fully aware, he is also a principal in the engineering firm that has the contract for the proposed library (don't forget the meetings were recorded). He has a rather large financial stake in this. As to the others you mentioned they are already patrons who obviously have access to the existing libraries. According to the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, based on a 90,000 population, we should have a minimum of 54,000sq.ft. of library space. Campbell County currently has over 56,000sq.ft. The proposed library at 28,000sq.ft., is larger than Newport and slightly smaller than Cold Spring and Ft. Thomas COMBINED! There is currently a planned development of over 1,000 homes to be constructed in Alexandria. Those homes will be closer to the Cold Spring branch than the proposed South branch. Modest tax increase? Median home value in CC is $151,500. A current homeowner already pays $112; you want them to pay over $142. You are also on record as stating that the Library Board should take a 4% increase every year. In five years that number increases to over $173. Bottom line this proposed library is too large, too expensive and too far South.

  3. The above comment is pretty damning to the Proponents of the Library Tax.

    Here's hoping for NO MORE TAXES!!!!

  4. Hey JC, Stop trying to make the rest of us feel bad for not wanting to shoulder more taxes in an already tough economic time. Health care costs have gone up, gas prices have gone up, food prices have gone up, water+sanitation have gone up, gas and electric are up, insurance costs are up.
    And all the while wages have stayed at best constant with inflation.
    Right Idea, wrong time Mr. Morgan.

  5. Maybe the right idea for JC's income. How much of an income boost are you getting JC for adding this 28,000 square foot branch? Maybe that is the real reason for this enormous branch. Do you get paid by the square footage of libraries that you direct?

  6. See the TV Show about the Library Tax issue. Campbell Cable Channel 21 (Cinti Bell 811) at 9:00 PM Monday (Nov 5).

  7. Since we already have 3 libraries clustered within a small distance, let's close one and built one further south. The LOGICAL branch to close would be the Fort Thomas branch, as both the Newport and Cold Spring libraries are easily accessible to Fort Thomas residents.
    Personally, I'd rather keep all three and see the fourth one built. I live in Fort Thomas but can appreciate the students and residents of southern Campbell County need a choice closer than Cold Spring.
    To me, this is nothing more than an investment in my community or, more particularly my county, so the choice is an easy one for me: it's a win/win for everyone.
    As a single parent on a $65,000 income, I can certainly afford another 30.00 spread out over a year.

  8. The single father of three had nothing to do with the design of the building. I think it was his daughter, Abby, age 9, who spoke as well. You'll find them both in the recording. I am on record for agreeing with the Tea Party that there's a problem with the calculation of the "compensating rate" under KRS Chapter 132. I asked the Board to use the correct formula in the future. I did not ask the Board to take a 4% tax increase every year. And I do not receive any additional compensation for providing library service to southern Campbell County, just to keep the record straight. JC Morgan, Library Director

  9. I have decided to throw my name into the ring as a write-in candidate for city council.

    Write-in Jason Carter instead of voting for Jay Fosset.