Many people believe that a commissioner is the executive arm of county government, similar to a municipal mayor except for a county instead of a city. But in the Ohio Revised Code, counties do not possess the power of home rule and may only perform those functions specifically authorized by state law. Per the County Commissioners Association of Ohio website, the primary role of the commissioner is to be the taxing, budgeting, appropriating, and purchasing authority for the county. In other words, the office is primarily a financial position.
This is especially important to note in times like today. The pandemic has decimated private business, but government has yet to feel the real financial impact. As we have sheltered-at-home, the purchases that drive sales tax revenue – the primary source of county funding – have plummeted. As out-of-work borrowers have opted for forbearance on their home loans, the county stands to lose the property tax revenue they would have paid from the escrows they are no longer funding. The state has already instructed agencies to cut 20% from their budgets; the same size cut in Allen County would be over $5 million. That’s $5 million less in services you will be getting from your local government over the next year.
Now is certainly not the time for someone who needs on-the-job training. Tough times lie ahead and we need a financial planner to help us plan for the future of Allen County. Please join me in voting for that candidate, Tim Sielschott!
Kurt Neeper, Lima