Ottawa County hopefuls agree on need to grow economy

PORT CLINTON Both candidates vying for Ottawa County Commissioner have an admirable record of community service. Linda
Sarah Weber
May 24, 2010



Both candidates vying for Ottawa County Commissioner have an admirable record of community service.

Linda Hartlaub, the president and 12-year veteran of Port Clinton City Council, has helped individuals and families find jobs and homes for more than 30 years. She manages an agency that helps provide housing for homeless women and case management for families in crisis.

Her Republican opponent, Mark Stahl, was the fire captain of the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District and is certified as an EMT, firefighter and fire instructor. He is a second-term Allen Township trustee and a works as an accountant in the area of financial and accounting management.

The candidates agree the person chosen to replace retiring incumbent Carl Koebel needs to promote economic development in the county.

Hartlaub said as a commissioner she would help build an atmosphere attractive to prospective new companies. Besides collaborating with the city, townships and villages, Hartlaub said it is important to invest in things like the county parks.

"When companies come into areas, things they look at are the schools and the quality of life," Hartlaub said.

She said she would also like to improve communication between the commissioners' office and the electorate.

"I relate really well to people. That's one of my strongest assets," she said. "People want to come to the courthouse and feel comfortable talking to the commissioners.

She said voters should consider her because of her experience as a councilwoman and as a manager. She said as part of her job she has traveled to and worked with people in every corner of the county.

Hartlaub said her development efforts would be a county-wide project.

"Something big happening in Genoa benefits the whole county all the way to Marblehead," she said.

Stahl said his background in finance gives him skills that would be beneficial when managing the county's budget.

The county has been in good financial condition compared to others in Ohio, recently receiving a positive financial rating from Moody's. Stahl said he wants to be a commissioner to provide the office with leadership character and financial responsibility.

"You trust that your commissioner can manage your tax dollars in a professional manner," Stahl said. "Ottawa County Commissioners are responsible for effective and efficient management of a $66 million budget."

Stahl said he wants to create a "tool box" of supports for businesses to grow in the county and inspire other businesses to move to the area.

He said voters should take into consideration the challenges and opportunities the county faces in the coming years as they go to the polls.

"Working together we can promote public and private partnerships in human services, economic development, health, infrastructure enhancement and to protect and enhance the quality of life for all of Ottawa County," he said.