Wapak, Auglaize County on strong footing, civic leaders say


By Craig Kelly - [email protected]



Auglaize County Commissioner David Bambauer delievers remarks during the Wapakoneta Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City held Thursday at the Wapakoneta Eagles.

Auglaize County Commissioner David Bambauer delievers remarks during the Wapakoneta Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City held Thursday at the Wapakoneta Eagles.


Craig Kelly | The Lima News

WAPAKONETA — Despite a recent transition in leadership and increased uncertainty in the state of affairs in the broader world, leaders from the city, county and school levels expressed satisfaction with the state of Wapakoneta and Auglaize County during a State of the City event held Thursday at the Wapakoneta Eagles.

The event, organized by the Wapakoneta Chamber of Commerce, brought leaders from both the private and public sectors in the Wapakoneta area together to hear from Interim Mayor Steve Henderson, Auglaize County Commissioners, with Commissioner David Bambauer speaking on behalf of the board, and Wapakoneta schools Superintendent Aaron Rex.

Bambauer noted that while there has been a slight drop in revenues from the county sales tax, down half a percent from last year, the county’s finances are positioned well, as income exceeded expenses by just over $3 million in 2021. Bambauer also discussed ongoing studies for renovations at the county jail to add additional female housing and expanded capacity for mental health needs. He also noted that, with the passage of Senate Bill 52, which gives county commissioners oversight over wind and solar project siting, the board decided after hearing from the public in April to restrict all unincorporated areas in the county from receiving solar and wind farms.

This does not include the proposed Birch Solar project, which would take up portions of both Auglaize and Allen counties. According to Bambauer, this project was “grandfathered” in, being proposed before Senate Bill 52 was enacted.

“What we’ve done is restrict all unincorporated areas from any projects after that,” he said.

Concerning Birch Solar, the commissioners passed a resolution noting that Birch Solar has met stipulations set forth by the commissioners to address resident concerns.

“One was a drainage and road use maintenance agreement, and there were some other things,” Bambauer said. “They’ve satisfied our needs on that, so now we’re not going to go in as an intervenor anymore, and we have signed off that the stipulations we asked for have been addressed.”

Ohio Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, was in attendance and voiced support for the aim of Senate Bill 52, saying it gives more control over these issues to local representatives.

“That’s a really important step in giving county officials local control,” she said. “I’m a firm believer that the county and local folks know best how to make decisions for their respective communities, so whenever the state legislature can hand that control to local officials, I believe that is important.”

Henderson had been City Council President prior to his mayoral appointment, which came in response to the suspension of Mayor Thomas Stinebaugh, who was indicted in July 2021 on 17 corruption charges related to business dealings conducted during his time in office. Henderson credited the strength of the community for getting through that transition.

“It is with gratitude and pride in our city that we continue to work hard and move forward in difficult times,” he said. “It is what Wapakoneta has always done and will continue to do.”

Henderson pointed to the growth in area industries, such as FlexArm and the Ohio Greenhouse Company, which are planning expansions, as well as the continued investment in the city’s downtown, as areas of strength in the city and reasons for optimism going forward.

Rex pointed to multiple new investments in the school district, including the upcoming purchase of three new buses, new smart touch software in every classroom, and the upcoming purchase of 1,500 Chromebooks for students.

“The high school will truly become a one-to-one [student per Chromebook] school,” he said.

After the meeting, Manchester expressed gratitude to the organizers for this event, saying this was a great opportunity to gain a clearer sense of what is happening in the region.

“I’m very confident that the state of Auglaize County and the city of Wapakoneta is strong,” she said. “I think it’s important that we as state legislators keep a close ear to the ground on what’s happening within our local and county elected official systems.”

Auglaize County Commissioner David Bambauer delievers remarks during the Wapakoneta Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City held Thursday at the Wapakoneta Eagles.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/05/web1_BambauerStateofWapak.jpgAuglaize County Commissioner David Bambauer delievers remarks during the Wapakoneta Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City held Thursday at the Wapakoneta Eagles. Craig Kelly | The Lima News

By Craig Kelly

[email protected]

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0391 or on Twitter @cmkelly419.

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0391 or on Twitter @cmkelly419.

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