Southgate voters face full ballot

Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — A seemingly low-profile ballot could bring new faces to city and school oversight after Tuesday’s general election.

The city’s top elected positions are unchallenged, with Mayor Joseph Kuspa and City Clerk Thomas Alexander running unopposed. Treasurer Sheryl Denman is not seeking re-election, and challenger James E. Dallos is running unopposed for the office.

All seven city council seats expire this year, and all but Carol Batko are looking to continue serving on the panel: Council President Phillip Rauch, elected in 2009; Jan Ferencz, a former city employee until elected in 2005; Patricia Ganzberger seeking a fourth and consecutive term-limited final election; Karen George, who served on the council from 1983 to 1999; Christopher Rollet, also seeking his fourth consecutive term; and Dale Zamecki, a council member of nearly 20 years’ service.

At least one newcomer will join the council. Challengers for council are Ernest F. Abercrombie, a businessman who previously campaigned for mayor; attorney Bill Colovos; Southgate Community Schools Board President Edward G. Gawlik Jr.; and automotive sales manager Marcine Lemerand.

Gawlik’s bid for city council opened a seat on the Southgate board of education, although no official candidates filed in time for the August primary ballot, paving the way for one of two write-in candidates — former board member Paul Knott and Dane Ziemba — to take his seat.

Southgate’s general election ballot also asks voters to authorize renewal of a 2-mill levy for construction, reconstruction, repair and overall improvement of city streets for an additional five years.

If approved, the tax would be levied at 1.93 mills and generate $1.5 million in its first year. The millage levies one dollar for every thousand dollars of taxable property value. City officials said the owner of a home with a $100,000 taxable value would pay approximately $85 annually if the millage is renewed.

Funds from the millage allowed the Department of Public Services to install new storm lines, pave roads and improve underground storage capabilities. Kuspa said that the value of the levy is even greater, as the millage allows the city to apply for matching grants, which has brought more than $1 million worth of infrastructure improvements.

(James Mitchell can be reached at