Commissioner race on Seneca ballot

By JIM MAURER
STAFF WRITER
TIFFIN — Republican voters in Seneca County will nominate a county commissioner candidate on May 6. It is the only county race on the primary ballot, according to the Seneca County elections board.
Philip Frankart, 49, of 4720 S. Seneca County 591, New Riegel, and Mike Kerschner, 61, of 378 W. Lelar St., Tiffin, are competing in the Republican primary to replace Commissioner Jeff Wagner, who is not seeking re-election after a four-year term.
No Democrats filed for the seat. Independent candidates have until May 5 to file for the November general election.
Frankart is owner of an auto repair business. This is his first attempt at public office.
“I am not a politician,” Frankart wrote in response to a questionnaire. “I owe no political favors. I’m just an average working man that wants to listen to ideas about improving Seneca County. I am a true conservative.”
A graduate of Owens Community College’s Toledo campus, Frankart said being an honest small-business owner with management experience would benefit the commissioners’ office.
He cited several issues which need consideration: safety improvements at the intersection of Ohio 587 and U.S. 224; improving overall safety in the county; centralizing county government; and addressing the sewer problems in New Riegel.
Kerschner retired in 2007 as chief executive officer of Old Fort Banking Co.
He said he has served as treasurer for “at least seven” political campaigns in Seneca County.
“My focus will be on putting the right policies in place to help Seneca County grow and thrive through economic development and a better business environment,” Kerschner wrote in response to a questionnaire. “We have a county full of outstanding people with an unmatched work ethic and I’d like to help translate that into a stronger, more prosperous future for our communities.”
Besides his banking background, he has served on volunteer boards, as chairman of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp., the Tiffin Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way. He has led capital campaigns for the Ritz Theatre and St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He has been a Heidelberg University trustee and served three terms on the St. Francis home board.
Seneca County commissioners serve four-year terms and are paid $55,524 annually.
Also on the ballot, county Auditor Julie Adkins and Juvenile/Probate Judge Jay Meyer, both Republicans, are unopposed for re-election.
Ohio House race
Separately, four people filed as write-in candidates for the 88th District seat in the Ohio House, held by Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont.
William “Bill” Young is running as a Democrat. Republican write-in candidates include Rex’s wife, Rhonda Damschroder of Fremont; Richard Geyer of Ballville Township, Sandusky County; and Bill Reineke Jr. of Tiffin.
There are no candidates on the ballot for the Ohio House seat. The district includes Sandusky County and a portion of Seneca County.
Rex Damschroder intended to be on the ballot, but withdrew his candidacy after it was discovered he made a mistake when he filed petitions for re-election. He failed to include one of his eight required signatures on the petitions. He would have been unopposed for re-election.
Now his wife, 62, of 1014 Birchard Lane, Fremont, a retired teacher, will seek to keep the seat. She filed as a “placeholder” candidate. If she wins the Republican primary, she will resign as the nominee. Republican Party leaders in Sandusky and Seneca counties can then name Rex Damschroder as the candidate to replace her on the fall ballot.
Geyer, 53, of 1909 Robert Ave., Fremont, is a Ballville Township trustee. He teaches online marketing classes for Liberty University, Bethel University and Indiana Wesleyan University.
Reineke, 59, of 5209 S. Ohio 231, Tiffin, is president of the Reineke family’s Ford Lincoln dealership in Tiffin. The family owns dealerships in Fostoria, Lima, Upper Sandusky and Findlay. In addition, Reineke is the state director of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Young, 62, of 312 N. Broadway, Green Springs, ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio House in 2010 and 2012. He is a retired teacher.
State representatives are paid $60,584 annually and serve two-year terms, with term limits of eight years.
Tax issues
There are no countywide tax issues on the ballot, but several school districts and villages are seeking income taxes or property taxes, including:
• Hopewell-Loudon School District, renewal of 5.24-mill, five-year emergency levy. The tax generates $570,000 annually for day-to-day operations. The cost to the owner of a $100,000 appraised house is $160.48 annually, according to Seneca County Auditor Adkins.
• Bettsville School District board withdrew an additional 2.2-mill, five-year emergency levy for current expenses. The tax would have generated $50,000 annually. A larger levy may be sought later.
The district is discussing a possible territory transfer to Old Fort School District.
In March, the school district received $775,000 in funds from the state to go toward paying bills, interim Treasurer Jaime Pearson said.
In February, state Auditor Dave Yost placed the school district in a state of “fiscal emergency.” His office examined the district’s general fund forecast and certified an operating deficit of $775,000 for fiscal year 2014. That fiscal year ends June 30.
• Tiffin School District, renewal of 4.67-mill, five-year emergency levy. It generates $1.64 million annually for day-to-day operations, according to Treasurer Sharon Perry. First approved as a 5-mill levy in 2004, it was renewed in 2009. State law requires a millage adjustment as property values increase or decrease, to generate the same dollar amount.
The cost for the owner of a $100,000 appraised house is $143.02 annually, according to the county auditor.
Other tax issues in the county include:
• Mohawk School District, renewal of 1 percent, five-year income tax for expenses. The tax was approved in May 2009 and has generated more than $1.25 million annually for district operations. The district is in Wyandot, Seneca and Crawford counties.
Also on the ballot in parts of Seneca County will be two issues from neighboring counties:
• Arcadia School District, renewal of 1 percent, five-year income tax for expenses. The tax generates about $754,000 annually. The district is in Hancock and Seneca counties.
• Carey School District, renewal of 1 percent, five-year income tax. The tax generates about $1.1 million annually, according to Treasurer Karen Phillips. The district is in Wyandot and Seneca counties.
Maurer: 419-427-8420
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