Candidates for Ottawa County Commissioner Mark Stahl and Jody Regal made their case before the public Thursday night during the annual Candidate’s and Issues forum sponsored by the Business and Professional Women and the Port Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce.
The primary source of concern was a $250,000 computer network system recently installed at the Courthouse.
Jody Regal, a Democrat and current Ottawa County Auditor, brought up the issue during the Question and Answer segment of the forum, noting that it was purchased on the state purchasing system and not through competitive bidding. She was answered by Commissioner Steve Arndt who stated “the lowest bid is not always the best bid. We purchased the previous system by bid and we had problems with it. The new system came with consultants who can fix the problems when they arise.” Regal indicated that the new system is wrought with problems.
Jody Regal cited her fiscal experience as a primary reason she should be elected, noting that she knows the County budget better than anyone. She also noted, “I do my own research on issues. I listen to people every day. I have a common sense management style.”
Mark Stahl countered that in the last four years, the County has gone from deficit to surplus thanks in large measure to the tight controls established by himself along with Steve Arndt and Democrat Jim Sass. “We have maintained the County’s Bond Rating and promoted effective communications within the courthouse.” Arndt echoed Stahl saying that the last four years have been extremely challenging from a fiscal standpoint. “We’ve experienced a 22% cut in appropriations and our revenues are up only ½% from 10 years ago. We’ve been able to stay afloat through attrition and moving pieces and parts.”
Also speaking were former Commissioner and State Representative Darrel Opfer in support of Issue 2, a change in the State Constitution to create a bi-partisan board to perform the task of redistricting Ohio. Catawba resident Ron Mainous spoke in opposition to Issue 2 stating that the State could be redistricted by unelected individuals who are not accountable.
The crowd heard from PC Schools Treasurer Jeff Dornbusch in support of the renewal of a school levy, noting that over the years the millage has been reduced to make certain the amount of money brought in remains the same.
Dr. Dan Cadigan, a candidate for County Coroner noted that he was running at the request of local families and Law Enforcement. “Ottawa County is our home now,” he said. “I work here and live here.” He promised that he would make certain that three elements would guide him as Coroner, dependability, accessibility and respect to families. Cadigan’s opponent, current Coroner Dr. Jerome McTague did not attend.
Old friends and political rivals Chris Redfern and Randy Gardner also spoke. Redfern is running unopposed for the 89th District Ohio House of Representatives. Gardner is running for the second time to be State Representative, noting that in 27 years in the legislature he has never missed a roll call vote.
Steve Levorchik, running unopposed for Sheriff, listed a number of accomplishments that he has undertaken to reduce costs in his office in an attempt to make the Sheriff’s office run more like a business.