Updated Wed, May 8, 2013 10:32 am
What started as a petition 17 months ago ended Tuesday with a majority vote to dissolve the village of Orient.
Only 68 of 165 registered voters went to the polls to decide the fate of the village, which has been incorporated since 1953, with 38 of them voting for the dissolution and 30 voting against it.
"The voter turnout was probably due to people not realizing it was on the ballot this soon," said councilman Noah Walsh, adding that the mayor and council were not permitted to actively campaign to keep the village incorporated.
As for the man who fought tooth and nail to get the issue on the ballot, Walter Kerschner said he is just glad it's over.
"If we had only got the council and mayor to talk to us, [it could have been avoided], but they just didn't want to do that," he said, referring to the lack of cooperation between the council and a group of residents who have opposed the installation of several speed bumps on village streets and an 113-acre annexation into the village for a possible housing development.
Kerschner said he looks forward to working with the Scioto Township trustees and hopes to persuade them into putting a tax levy on the ballot to fund the village's street lights since many residents voiced concern about the village going dark.
But Walsh said he thinks residents will not have their voices heard as part of the township as they have in the village.
"These people just don't realize they have made it harder for them to get what they want done here in Orient," he said. "Orient is now the low man on the pole in Scioto Township."
At this point, the future of the area is unclear. The county, township and village have been waiting for a decision before investing time and money into figuring out what comes next.
Mayor Melinda Skaggs, who declined to comment on the election results, said she is not even sure when exactly the village will dissolve.
"We'll see what happens," she said.