Tuesday, October 21, 2014

County race ends with upset, new face

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 8/6/2014

After 14 years of service on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, Don Stottlemire will turn over his seat to Randall Renoud in January.

Renoud, former Wellsville Elementary School principal, defeated Stottlemire in the Republican primary to represent District 5 on the board with 336 votes to Stottlmire’s 242 votes.

After 14 years of service on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, Don Stottlemire will turn over his seat to Randall Renoud in January.

Renoud, former Wellsville Elementary School principal, defeated Stottlemire in the Republican primary to represent District 5 on the board with 336 votes to Stottlmire’s 242 votes.

Renoud did not respond to requests for comment about the election’s outcome. Stottlemire declined to comment, but expressed appreciation for the opportunity to serve Wednesday night during a county budget hearing at the Franklin County Office Annex, 1418 S. Main St., Ottawa.

While campaigning, Renoud didn’t directly comment on Stottlemire’s tenure, but said county leaders should grow while in office and have benchmarks of success to reference. He also detailed some of his plans, if elected. At a July 22 candidate forum in Ottawa, Renoud said he wants to install a zeroed-out budget plan that forces each department to start from scratch each year during budget discussions.

“We take a blank piece of paper and go to each [department leader] and say, ‘Build a budget from zero,’” Renoud told the forum audience.

He stressed the importance of finding ways to use county government to help save tax payer dollars, despite constant funding cuts from the state.

“Efficiency and effectiveness are two crucial components to help create the budget,” Renoud said.

When Stottlemire joined the board of commissioners in 2000, the county was receiving about $750,000 revenue from the county’s idle funds, the incumbent said, but now only receives about $30,000. The state also pulled demand transfers from the county, which cost about $500,000, Stottlemire said. Despite the loss of revenue, he said the commissioners have challenged department heads to craft the most efficient budget possible, and they have done a great job.

“We know [the departments] got to provide the service. We know what level you have to provide the service,” Stottlemire said. “We’re giving you the challenge of being able to do it by finding the most efficient — not the cheapest — the most efficient and the best way to operate.”

But that philosophy, nor his presence and participation in many community meetings throughout District 5, apparently wasn’t enough to save the incumbent on election night.

Renoud challenged that the county hasn’t done enough to secure planned growth, better living conditions for county residents nor deal with the revenue shortcomings.

“We can make this county an unbelievable place to live for us and those who follow us,” Renoud said.

Stottlemire told The Herald in mid-July he was proud to have someone from his District to run against in the primary election, saying he was happy someone else was willing to serve.

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