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With Coin Toss, New Crescent Springs Council Member Elected

Even with controversial issues like contracting with Villa Hills for police service after years of working with Erlanger, the City of Crescent Springs failed to yield enough candidates to fill the ballot for its six city council seats.

That prompted three candidates to jump in the race late with write-in campaigns.

On Election Day last week, two of those write-in candidates tied with 79 votes apiece for the sixth and final seat.

On Tuesday, Patrick Hackett and Jeannine Bell Smith met at the Kenton County Building at the office of County Clerk Gabrielle Summe where, as written in state law, the tie would be broken by a coin toss.

Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn tossed the coin.

Hackett will be the sixth member of the Crescent Springs city council. 

The councilman-elect said he felt relief when he saw the "star" side of the coin turn up.

"I'll get some sleep tonight and then begin working on Crescent Springs city council," Hackett said. He attended last night's city council meeting and had already volunteered for committee assignments.

"I'm going to the finance committee meeting next week," he said.

Hackett said that Crescent Springs likely struggled to fill the ballot positions because of a trend, mainly in which younger people are not involved.

"I think you see that all over now. You see it in boards. It's tough to get people to volunteer their time," Hackett said. "Especially the younger ones. I'm in semi-retirement. For ten years, I was on an airplane. I couldn't even do this. I was platinum with Delta. But a lot of people just don't volunteer like they used to."

Bell Smith plans to stay involved, too, even though she won't be an elected member of council.

"Seventy-nine people gave me their precious vote," she said. 

One issue that will continue to be of importance is what is happening next door in Villa Hills, with which the city already shares an independent fire department. On Election Day, the mayor and five members of the Villa Hills city council lost their re-election bid, mere months after beefing up its small police department to serve its new client, Crescent Springs.

"We had three council people that left. There was quite a fiasco going on about the police department, and I think some of those council people, there was a tiff in there, they didn't want to go to Villa Hills," Bell Smith said. "You know what's going on in Villa Hills. Villa Hills got their clocks cleaned."

But for now, the votes are in, and the election is all but final. Hackett and Bell Smith were friendly during the coin toss and hope that message spreads.

"It's just a little local election," Hackett said. "We might be Republican or Democrat, but really a local election is nonpartisan. We are there to volunteer for the city and that's where our energy should be, depending on what we believe in to make our city look good to the public."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Jeannine Bell Smith, Chuck Korzenborn, Patrick Hackett (RCN)