Candidates answers questions

Six candidates running for two Erie County commissioner seats tackled a series of questions about the county's debt for a story in today's Register. Here's an excerpt from that story. Question: Is the county’s debt a serious problem?
Matt Westerhold
Nov 2, 2012


Dick Brady: Yes, it’s a problem. The county’s debt load, and more importantly, the $8 million in interest we pay annually, reflects two decades of poor decisionmaking under Tom Ferrell. This robs every county department of opportunities to provide improved services to the taxpayer.

Tom Ferrell: This is not debt, it’s an investment. Our investment has led to huge economic growth we have experienced in Erie County.

Jude Hammond: The problem is that the cost to repay the debt through principal and interest payments takes away from funds available to pay for operational expenses for the county to provide services to our community.\

Brad Hartung: Yes. The debt is a problem, but if used wisely, it could be a tool to deliver infrastructure at a fraction of the actual cost over time. Timing is everything, and closely watching each debt issue allows for the planning required to purchase things we need at a savings.

Steve Kraus: Yes, it is a problem. The commissioners made a good investment that has not paid off because they have not addressed foundational problems within our economy. Once those issues are addressed, we should see a good return on our investment.

Pat Shenigo: Yes. Massive debt payments for projects that don’t provide a positive outcome to the user are a problem that will continue to haunt us for many years to come.

Watch the candidate debates by clicking the following links: Shenigo/Hammond; Ferrell/Brady/Kraus

And get a copy of today's Register for the other questions the candidates answerd about the county's debt.




Well from reading this Ferrell made himself look like a giant idiot. If they asked him if a bluebird was blue he may just answer with "No, it is not blue, it is a simple lack of yellow and red color in the color spectrom being emitted by the birds feathers." THE BIRD IS BLUE DUDE!!! AND OUR DEBT IS DEBT!!!

Sadly I voted for him once in the past...



Another Democrat not worried about outrageous spending or mountains of debt. Typical.

They have no common or fiscal sense.

Julie R.

Why don't they ask the public officials that nobody ever runs against some questions? Oh wait, I believe they already did. The recorder Barb Sessler ~ who has no opponent ~ said she's going to spend the next 4 years working on historical documents, that are currently in book and microfilm form, scanned for use in the office. She said this will enhance property searching abilities.

I think she should work instead on putting all records and acts upon property online, including all fraud documents. Considering that the fraud documents are a matter of public record, there shouldn't be any reason not to put them online. She should also work on clearing up the intentional misleading information that IS online. Same with the auditor's office. I think the new auditor should work on clearing up the misleading information left by the last two former auditors. That information is so misleading it's pathetic.


Ferrell states "This is not debt, it’s an investment" which could be looked at another way. When one goes into business, do they not go into debt at first and then hope for profits? Would Kalahari have located in Erie County if the infrastructures were not in place?


Candidates answer questions.


Question: Is over $16,000,000,000,000 debt a serious problem?


What is the current interest rate in percent of the county's debt and to whom?


my QUESTION; a lot of money has went into 250/milan rd. this trent has been going on for about 50 years. Will anyone take care of the rest of the county?


50 years? Who were the county commissioners back then?


Ferrell: A basic accounting class will teach you that debt is classified as a liability. Debt is not an asset, nor is it an "investment" as you have previously claimed. Scary he does not know that.

Kraus: A good investment that isn't paying off, isn't that the definition of a bad investment?

At least it sounds like Brady, Hammond and Shenigo get it.