BLUFFTON — After resigning as Bluffton’s mayor in 2017, Judy Augsburger is ready to jump back into local government.
In December 2017, Augsburger resigned to spend more time with her family. Holding the seat of Allen County commissioner would allow her to do both.
“I’ve actually been thinking about it for at least two years to continue working for local government,” she explained. “I really enjoyed what I did as mayor for Bluffton, and now I’d like to take that to the county level.”
Since then, Augsburger has been maintaining her own tax practice, working with several small businesses and farmers during tax season — an asset that Augsburger said she could use in a commissioner seat. Augsburger is a graduate of the University of Northwestern Ohio and Bluffton University with a degree in accounting, and she is a certified public accountant.
If elected, Augsburger said that maintenance would be a big focus of hers, which was also one of her main concerns as Bluffton’s mayor.
“We ended up doing a lot of major maintenance to get through the next five to 10 years and also set up a system to be ready in the following 10 years to replace it and build new,” she explained.
Two of her key projects were bringing back to life the airport and fire department.
“I was fearful we would lose Mercy Health Life Flight here in Bluffton, and they are such an asset to our community,” she said. “One of the first things we did was meet with the head Life Flight pilot to discuss drainage, pavement issues and started an airport commission so the airport was maintained because it was the most urgent need.”
Augsburger said the current commissioners have done a “fabulous job,” so she wouldn’t necessarily be coming in thinking of things to improve. She said she would jump on board with any ongoing priority projects in process.
“I think my focus would be on figuring out what we have and making sure we can maintain what we have, but also to make sure that the department is able to get the money they need for the budget,” she said. “That’s where that budgeting background will come into account. I have an understanding of government accounts … I bring that to the position to hit the ground running with the budgeting and to be able to work on the budget.”
To bring in the revenue needed, Augsburger said developing partnerships within the community is key.
“For extra money, I would not look at increasing sales tax. We want to be lower than surrounding counties so people come into Allen County to buy things,” she said. “Instead, we’d want to focus on extra revenue through development of partnerships to share work and buying into some projects.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.