OTTAWA — Putnam County Auditor Robert Benroth was sworn in Thursday for a fourth term, with plans to keep the county in a positive financial status.
Judge Keith Schierloh swore Benroth in at the Putnam County Courthouse. Benroth previously served as the county’s treasurer for 10 years. His term will begin March 11.
“As county auditor, I do all the accounting and keep financial records of the county that includes payroll for government employees,” Benroth said. The auditor’s office also does payroll for the Putnam County Health Department.
He graduated from Columbus Grove High School in 1981 and graduated from Ohio State University’s Lead Class in 1995 in agriculture economics. He spent time with Ohio State in China in school.
He said he enjoys helping people who visit the office and need assistance.
When he came into office, the county had almost $2 million in long-term debt on the landfill closure, where the county borrowed money, and the county jail that was built in 2001.
“We had a 20-year loan for the jail and a 30-year loan for the landfill and we were able to pay off the loans early,” Benroth said. Taxpayers were saved $1 million in future interest costs.
He discussed the importance of the office described the office as the “watch dog” for the county’s taxpayers.
Since he has been auditor, in 2009 the county’s bond rating was raised from an A to an A plus by Standard & Poors Financial Services. Then in 2014, the county went from an A plus to a double A minus on its bond rating.
“At a time when the United States bond rating went down and in a time when other county’s bond ratings were taking on more debt we not only raised our debt rating twice, but also paid off all of our debt and today Putnam County is debt free as a result of that,” Benroth said.
Another accomplishment was establishing the Land Fill Closure Trust Fund to put $2 million that has saved the county $45,000 a year.
An online system was established when he became auditor where residents can visit www.putnamcountygis.com to view property details.
His wife, Jalene, two sons, Matthew, 10, and Levi, 8, and daughter, Suzanne, 28, attended the swearing in ceremony. Following Benroth’s swearing in, he swore in his 10 employees.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.