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High court nixes Falls referendums

The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a motion for reconsideration of decisions made by the Trumbull County Board of Elections pertaining to referendums being placed on the ballot.

Last month, the Trumbull County Board of Elections unanimously rejected requests for referendum issues to overturn legislation passed by Newton Falls village council involving replacement of smart meters and upgrading pay and benefits of the part-time law director Joseph Fritz in Newton Falls.

A group of residents known as “Be the Change” supporting the referendums filed an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court in an effort to have the election board’s decisions overturned.

The village is planning to spend $3.1 million to replace electric and water meters and install upgraded technological replacements.

The village had argued that the decision to upgrade the salary of the law director to an equivalent of full-time pay and benefits is an administrative matter that under Ohio law is not subject to a referendum as would be the case if it were considered legislation.

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