I am writing in response to a letter published in last week's The Advertiser-Tribune. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion but they are not entitled to their own facts. My company (Laminate Technologies) will receive no other benefit than will the rest of Seneca County if the license tag fee is implemented. Laminate Technologies is an ongoing, vital company because of the long-term investments we have made and the commitment we have to our employees and to Tiffin and Seneca County.
I am fulfilling my promise to run the county like a business, and that includes investment in infrastructure in order to attract more business to Seneca County and make roads safer for everyone. I have had the chance to review the issues that face the county, and roads and highway safety need to be a top priority. Investments in roads is no different than investments in business. My wife and I have invested in Lam Tech and because of those investments, our employees' jobs are stronger today, no different than what investments we must make in government.
We continue to have population decline in Seneca County. I ask, why is this, and as I see it, there is a lack of opportunities for our youth, and for that fact, older job seekers. We can continue to do the same old, same old and most likely get the same results. I would now like to take action to address these issues and not ignore them until we are forced to take action. I know my opinions may not always be popular but I am doing what I believe is in the best interest of the citizens of Seneca County. Below are the three issues that I feel should be addressed and a potential action plan for each:
1) We have good jobs available in our county that employers cannot fill. Solution, Jobs Fair (connect job-seekers and employers) along with making available the technical schools to train potential employees for these positions.
2) Improve our roads so we can easily move material in and out of the county with quick access to major highways. (Solution, go to ODOT and lobby them to improve our roads.) We have 59 years of poor experience in soliciting ODOT to make any major improvements to our highways without at least some of our financial support. The last real project in the county to dramatically improve our roads, to help move goods and services through the county, was the US 224 bypass that was built in 1954. So, with this seed money (revenue from this user tax) we can at least go to ODOT and tell them we can share in part of the financial cost of this project; without this, our experience tells us we will probably be turned down by ODOT as the belief is if we don't believe in ourselves, why should they.
3) Private investment of additional industrial buildings. Please understand, I am not advocating any public funds be spent on this part of our economic development plan, but we would encourage private investors to invest in buildings that our economic development people can promote to bring additional employers to Seneca County.
The decisions we make today can improve Seneca County tomorrow. Let's find a way to retain jobs, to increase population, to make our roads safer, to invest in new manufacturing and service companies and to maintain a positive attitude toward our future. We have an opportunity with ODOT and the refinancing of the turnpike (with the approximately $1.5 billion to be spent on roads in the northern part of Ohio that are within 75 miles of the turnpike and roads that directly lead to the turnpike, as this is part of Gov. John Kasich's plan to spend these funds) for us to make some significant improvements, but we need to show that we are willing to financially participate in the road improvements.
Let's not let this opportunity pass because of political differences. Seize this chance to improve our county for this generation and beyond. I need your support and would ask that you enthusiastically support this effort.
The definition of insanity is doing things the same way over and over again and expecting a different result. Let's not continue to do things the same way they have always been done and suffer the consequences of fewer jobs and declining population. Is $5 per vehicle really that much to invest in our future? I have experienced regions of the county in decay, and along with the decay comes lower property values. Is this $5 per vehicle per year too much to ask for investing in our children's future? I continue to hear, "What happens if we don't get the funds from the turnpike fees?" and my answer to this is: We continue to try. It has been 59 years since ODOT has contributed to a major road expansion in the county that promotes the flow of traffic in and out of the county (note the improvements on Market Street in Tiffin was a city project), but even if we fail to get additional funds this year, we will still have funds from this tax to continue to solicit ODOT in years two, three and four. I would propose that if, at the end of four years (my term as a commissioner), we have been unsuccessful to obtain ODOT funds to be used for major road improvements that can be directly related to job creation and economic development, we discontinue these taxes and disperse these funds equally to the townships, as I have repeatedly mentioned.
I have sat by and seen Seneca County deteriorate through the years. I continue to hear our population is in a decline, people need jobs and Tiffin needs to attract more business. Well, here is one way to help us accomplish this goal. The easy thing for us to do as commissioners is to reject this proposal and keep things as they have been. The tough thing to do is pass this. Please contact your commissioners. Send letters to the editor, etc., to show your support. I entered this political process to run government as a business and that is exactly what I am trying to do, please help me help Seneca County. Let's try to do things better and pave the way for a brighter and more prosperous future.
Seneca County commissioner,
president and CEO
of Laminate Technologies Inc.