CADILLAC — It appeared the 20 voting precincts in Wexford County were all accounted for Tuesday night, but an unknown error has forced those tabulations to be discarded and left election workers in the clerk's office hand-counting votes early Wednesday morning.
It wasn't until 2 a.m. that the final unofficial results were placed online and prior to the clerk's office said it wasn't sure what the exact issue was but that would be looked into Wednesday.
That issue meant three countywide millages, three contested commissioners races and a myriad of township proposals were left undecided as many were sleeping Tuesday night. The proposal with the most potential impact, the new Public Safety Millage for Law Enforcement Services, appeared to win approval, and that was the end result when the millage narrowly was passed by a tally of 3,595 to 3,194.
When it came to the Veterans Services millage, the renewal easily passed by a vote of 4,836 to 1,969
The same was not true for the Civic Center Millage which was defeated by a tally of 3,703 to 3,614. Earlier on Election Day, it appeared as if the Civic Center Millage was going to pass but after the tabulation issue, it was not definite.
As for the three commissioners races in District 1, District 3 and District 6, those results also had some issues. The other commissioner races were all uncontested.
There were three contested Wexford County Board of Commissioners races in Tuesday's election. This includes the commissioners' seats in District 1, District 3 and District 6.
In District 1, incumbent Michael MacCready lost to challenger Joe Hurlburt 324 to 212. In District 3, no incumbent was running as Bob Hilty did not seek re-election. Instead, Ben Townsend defeated David Fox by a tally of 323 to 208 to win the Republican nomination for the board seat.
The final contested race is in District 6 had incumbent Julie Theobald defeating challenger Carl Genzink by a tally of 262 to 112 to gain the Republican nomination for the board seat.
The new public safety millage will allow the department to increase staff and allow his officers to focus more on community policing, which is a concept he campaigned for when he ran for sheriff. Currently, a lot of the county's resources are used supporting the court system, including security at the courthouse as well as bailiffs in the courtroom.
In addition to three new deputies, the millage will allow the sheriff's office to hire part-time Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards-certified bailiffs and part-time transport officers to move inmates to and from court, to medical facilities, and to and from other jails and prisons. It also will allow the sheriff's office to continue to participate in the Traverse Narcotics Team, to provide a deputy to teach D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), participate in the secondary road patrol and the marine, snowmobile and ORV grant program.
If the proposed millage was defeated Tuesday, the sheriff's office would have had to lay off between eight and 10 deputies. With the deputies that are left, there would have been no night patrols.