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Published: Sunday, 11/2/2008

2 commissioner posts, levy for seniors on ballot

BY KATE GIAMMARISE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

NAPOLEON When Henry County voters go to the polls, they will weigh in on two county commissioner races and a new levy to provide senior services.

Running on Tuesday for an open commissioner seat are Republican Bob Hastedt and Democrat Robin Weirauch. Incumbent Commissioner Richard Bennett is retiring.

Ms. Weirauch, 51, has run previously for Ohio s 5th Congressional District seat, most recently in a special election last year when she was defeated by Bob Latta, who now holds the post.

The former assistant director of Bowling Green State University s Center for Regional Development, she said she wants to put her experience and education to work for the good of Henry County.

If elected, she said, she would improve communication with residents and collaborate to think more regionally. It s a real imperative these days, especially for small, rural communities like ours, she said.

Mr. Hastedt, 58, is a farmer and owner of Hastedt Family Greenhouse.

He is a Monroe Township trustee and president of the Henry County South Joint Ambulance District, which provides EMS service to six townships in the area. The main thing that the commissioners do is the budget, he said. My promise to my community is that I would strive to keep a balanced budget.

If finances allow, he said he would like to see services reinstated that were cut, such as a county agricultural agent and some sheriff s deputies.

Voters also have a second commissioner s race to consider between Democratic incumbent Richard Myers and Republican David Cordes.

Mr. Myers, 59, a commissioner for two years, was elected in 2006 to fill an unexpired term. Prior to that, he served as a Washington Township trustee for five years. During his time as a commissioner, he helped put together a four-county port authority, which includes Henry County.

If re-elected, he said, he wants to work on economic development issues related to the new U.S. 24 expansion project, as well as collaborate with state and county officials and pursue a grant to study the county s water and sewer infrastructure.

Mr. Myers and his wife run Liberty Software Systems, a computer software business. He also is a partner in a farming operation, in addition to his work as commissioner.

Mr. Cordes, 42, works as a chiropractor in Napoleon and runs Cordes Chiropractic Center. He has not previously sought elected office.

I just want to help our community grow and prosper, he said. Right now, we re going through some difficult times.

Mr. Cordes said he is concerned about budgetary cuts at local, state, and federal levels and wants to work to draw new business to the area.

Mr. Cordes describes himself as a conservative. He said he feels his agricultural background he grew up on a farm would help him as a commissioner.

Henry County commissioners make $40,888 annually.

Races for county prosecutor, clerk of courts, sheriff, recorder, treasurer, engineer, and coroner are all uncontested.

• LOCAL ISSUES

Trying to pass a levy for the first time is the Henry County Senior Center.

We ve held off and we just really need to be able to establish a source of reliable and consistent revenue, said Robin Small, executive director of the center. The center provides meals, transportation, and supportive services at its senior center in Napoleon and two satellite offices in Liberty Center and Deshler.

The 0.8-mill, five-year levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $24.50 annually.

We were very intentional in making it so that it would not be a hardship to most households, Ms. Small said. Officials at the center hope to use the funds to extend its meals-on-wheels service for home-bound seniors to the southern part of the county. They also want to use the money to replace funding now being received from the county, the city of Napoleon, and United Way.

Napoleon voters have two charter amendments to consider.

The first amendment would turn the office of mayor from a part-time position to a full-time job. The second would create a special economic development committee on City Council, said Steve Lankenau, chairman of the charter review commission.

Voters in Flatrock Township will decide on an additional 1.4-mill, five-year levy for purchasing and maintaining fire equipment. The department is looking to replace a truck and hopes to raise about $150,000 if the levy is approved, said Chief Roger Eis.

According to the county auditor s office, the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $42.88 a year.

Flatrock Township also has a local option election to allow the sale of beer, wine, and mixed beverages or liquor on Sundays.

Several other communities are seeking renewal levies:

• Damascus Township is seeking a renewal of its 2-mill, five-year operating levy.

• Harrison Township is asking for renewal of its 1.5-mill, three-year fire levy.

• Marion Township is seeking a renewal of its 1.8-mill, five-year operating levy.

• The county s Board of Developmental Disabilities Hope School has a 2-mill, five-year renewal levy for its residential adult workshops and support services.

• Voters also will see a replacement tax request for the Four County ADAMhs Board that serves Defiance, Fulton, Henry, and Williams counties. The 0.7-mill, five-year levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $21 a year.

Contact Kate Giammarise at:kgiammarise@theblade.com or 419-724-6133.



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