December 19, 2014

Elyria
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Election: LCCC campaign spends $545,000 promoting levy

SHEFFIELD TWP. — The campaign committee backing a Lorain County Community College levy on the November ballot has shelled out $545,380 so far, and that number will continue to climb.

Tracy Green, who is directing the campaign Citizens for LCCC and is one of the college’s vice presidents, said the high price tag on the levy push isn’t out of the ordinary when the college is trying to pass a levy.

Campaign finance records show that when the college previously was successful in getting a replacement levy passed, the campaign committee spent $627,084. Green said she thinks the final bill for the 2013 effort will end up being about the same.

The committee still has $193,118 left to spend this campaign season, according to campaign finance reports that were due to the county Board of Elections last week.

“None of that is public dollars,” she said. “It’s money that was given to us for that purpose.”

Green also said that while a majority of the money has gone to consulting and advertising buys on the radio, Internet and cable television, the campaign hasn’t been able to afford some of the marketing it would like to do.

“We can’t afford, even with that kind of budget, network advertising,” she said.

The 1.6-mill renewal levy with a 0.6-mill increase is expected to raise $12 million per year for the University Partnership. It will be in effect for 10 years if approved by voters.

The college committee’s expenditures dwarf the second-most expensive levy campaign in the county this year. The committee backing an Elyria Schools’ levy has spent $20,221 so far, according to its report.

The most expensive race between candidates in the county is in Avon, where long-time Mayor Jim Smith is retiring at the end of the year.

Rich Summers has spent the most in that race so far, with expenditures totaling $13,726, followed closely by Dan Zegarac with $13,387 in expenditures. Kevin Ward has spent $9,617 while Bryan Jensen has spent the least in the Avon mayoral race, with expenses totaling $6,963.

In the hotly contested rematch between Vermilion Mayor Eileen Bulan and former Mayor Jean Anderson, Bulan has spent $11,146 so far, compared with Anderson’s $3,711.

Bulan still has $9,214 left in her campaign war chest to use this election season, compared with the $1,084 in Anderson’s campaign account.

Pricey campaigns aren’t limited to mayoral races. In Lorain, two well-funded independents with the backing of organized labor are challenging two Democrats who have the full backing of their party in City Council races.

In the 8th Ward, Councilman Frank DeTillio has spent $10,134 to defend the seat he was appointed to earlier this year when his predecessor, Craig Snodgrass, resigned to become Lorain County auditor.

DeTillio’s independent opponent Josh Thornsberry’s campaign has shelled out $8,631 so far.

In the race for the open seat in the 4th Ward, independent Greg Argenti has spent $5,625, putting him ahead of Democrat Dave Burgess, who has spent $4,162 on the race so far.

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