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Published: Sunday, 9/30/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Voters in region mull choices for county offices

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

When northwest Ohio voters go to the polls to cast their ballot for president, they will find a full slate of local candidates and issues to vote on as well.

County commissioners and other county officeholders are on the Nov. 6 ballot along with school, city, township, and county tax questions.

In Wood County, voters will be deciding two commissioner races: incumbent Republican Jim Carter is being challenged by Democrat Fred Keith, Jr., and Libertarian Brad Waltz. Democrat Joel Kuhlman, a Bowling Green lawyer who was appointed to fill longtime Commissioner Alvie Perkins’ seat in January, faces Doris Herringshaw, a retired Ohio State University extension educator who won the GOP primary in March.

Incumbent Wood County Recorder Julie Baumgardner, a Democrat, faces a challenge from Republican Brian Boos for the job of recording property titles, liens, veterans' discharges and burials, and other documents.

In Seneca County, where the image of bulldozers leveling the historic 1884 courthouse is still fresh, incumbent Commissioner Ben Nutter, a Democrat, faces Tiffin businessman Fred Zoeller, a Republican. Mr. Nutter, who voted with Commissioner Jeff Wagner to demolish the courthouse, is a Tiffin firefighter who is finishing his second term as county commissioner.

Also in Seneca County, Republican Holly Stacy is running against independent Paul Shoemaker, a former county maintenance worker who by law could not continue to work for the county after announcing his candidacy for commissioner. The winner of the contest will take the seat of Dave Sauber, a two-term commissioner who was defeated in the March GOP primary. He cast the lone vote against demolishing the courthouse.

In Fulton County, Republican incumbent Commissioner Paul Barnaby is opposed by independent Becky Thatcher.

Incumbent Henry County Commissioner Richard Myers, a Democrat who was indicted last week for having an unlawful interest in a public contract, faces Republican Glenn Miller. County Treasurer Calvin Spiess, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Zachary Riley.

Four-term Sandusky County Commissioner Terry Thatcher, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Glenn R. Baker. Sandusky County voters also will choose between incumbent Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt, a Democrat, and Republican Tim Braun, who works as an assistant prosecutor in Lucas County.

In Ottawa County, Commissioner Steve Arndt, a Republican from Port Clinton, faces Democrat John Huffman, a lawyer from Elmore. Incumbent Republican Mark Stahl is being challenged by Democrat JoEllen Regal.

Ottawa County voters also will elect a coroner. Dr. Jerome McTague, the incumbent and a Republican, faces a challenge from Dr. Dan Cadigan, a Democrat from Port Clinton.

There are contested races for sheriff in several counties, including Fulton, Henry, and Putnam.

Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputy Roy Miller is running against Wauseon Police Chief Keith Torbet, an independent, to replace Sheriff Darrell Merillat, who did not seek re-election after 28 years as the county’s top law enforcement officer.

In Putnam County, incumbent Sheriff James Beutler, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Michael Chandler, while in Henry County, incumbent Sheriff John Nye faces independent Mike Bodenbender, who resigned his job as a sergeant in the sheriff’s office to run for his boss’s job.

Among the cities attempting to increase local revenues are Findlay and Tiffin, which both are asking voters to approve 0.25 percent increases to the local income tax. Findlay residents already are paying the tax, but it is set to expire at the end of 2012.

First-term Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik said she had hoped the city’s financial condition would be healthy enough by the end of the year that the “temporary” tax could be allowed to expire. Instead, the city is looking at some $2 million in income reductions as a result of the loss of estate-tax revenue and decreased local government funding from the state. The 0.25 percent tax brings in $4.2 million a year, meaning the city would be looking at more than $6 million in reduced income if the tax is not renewed.

“This is a different scenario than what was being proposed in 2009," she said. "Ultimately what we’re trying to do is maintain the same level of services we’ve had for as long as we can remember and at the same time we’re being forced to cut $2 million out of the budget even if the tax passes.”

Sandusky County is seeking an additional 2-mill, continuing levy for services to the developmentally disabled, including operation and maintenance of the School of Hope, Sandco Industries, and the Meaningful Activity Care Center.

The Henry County Senior Center has an 0.8-mill, five-year renewal levy on the ballot for services for senior citizens.

The Seneca County Commission on Aging is seeking a 0.3-mill, five-year renewal for senior services, and the county’s Mental Health and Recovery Services Board is seeking an 0.8-mill, five-year renewal levy.

Multiple school districts also are on the ballot with tax requests, including Bowling Green City Schools, which is asking voters to approve a five-year, 0.75 percent income tax increase. Napoleon City Schools is seeking an additional 3.9-mill, five year levy for operations.

Complete lists of ballot issues and candidates are available on most county boards of election Web sites.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.



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