April 17, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
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$99K spent so far on sales tax push

SHEFFIELD TWP. — The committee pushing to keep a countywide 0.5 percent sales tax increase in place has spent a little more than $99,000 so far this election season.

The Keep Our County Safe committee for Issue 4 has raised a little more than $102,000 and has about $3,000 left in its campaign coffers, according to campaign finances reports, which were due Thursday at the Lorain County Board of Elections.

The committee has spent $22,280 on billboards and another nearly $20,000 on mailings, the report showed. The biggest expense so far was the campaign’s postage bill, which was $27,720.

The campaign also spent $5,460 on campaign signs and $4,837 on a cigar bar fundraiser earlier this month at Henry’s at the Barn in Avon, including $487.40 for cigars and cigar paraphernalia. That fundraiser brought in $19,600, the finance report showed.

Numerous county officials, local businesses and individuals also have made contributions to the campaign, the largest of which was a $20,000 donation from the Lorain County Community College Foundation. County Administrator Jim Cordes said the committee is still raising money and recently received a nearly $14,000 commitment from Team Lorain County.

“We’re doing what we can to raise money to get things done,” he said.

The committee is hoping to be able to raise and spend another $25,000, Cordes said.

The committee backing the sales tax increase, which county officials say is necessary to prevent further cuts, isn’t the only issue spending money.

The Elyria Citizens Committee for Quality Education has spent nearly $14,000 backing Issue 29 a renewal levy for Elyria Schools, while the Lorain Port Authority’s campaign committee for Issue 31 has spent nearly $17,800 on a levy renewal campaign.

The committee backing Issue 10, the income tax increase in the city of Elyria, did not file a campaign finance report, which is only required if a committee has spent more than $1,000.

The report was due the same day the committee held its first major fundraiser at the VFW Post 1079 on Abbe Road.

Brubaker said he estimates about 300 people attended the $20-per-ticket fundraiser. The bulk of the money will be used to fund an Issue 10 mailer and print and radio advertisements.

“The hope is to get the message out in a number of mediums,” he said.

Brubaker has previously said the committee hopes to raise upwards of $25,000 during the course of the campaign. Individual candidates also have been shelling out money.

While most council races show the candidates spending a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, the race between Republican Gary Bennett and Democrat Jay Grunda in the race to replace retiring Elyria Municipal Court Judge John Musson has gotten expensive.

Bennett has spent nearly $18,000 of his almost $23,000 war chest. He still has almost $5,000 left to spend, according to his campaign committee’s filing.

Grunda has spent nearly $18,900 on his campaign from the approximately $27,100 he had in his campaign coffers from contributions and other income. He still has nearly $8,300 left to finish out the campaign.

Filings in two other races show at least one candidate spending a substantial amount.

Lorain Law Director Pat Riley, a Democrat, has spent about $24,300 so far in the campaign and has another $4,258 left in his war chest. His opponent, Republican Michael Scherach, didn’t file a report.

In the Vermilion mayor’s race, Mayor Jean Anderson didn’t file a campaign report, but her opponent, Eileen Bulan, has spent about $7,000 and still has almost $700 left in her coffers, according to her report.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.