Brown County Commissioner candidates answer questions

By Wayne Gates – 

Incumbent Brown County Commissioner Tony Applegate is being challenged by David Daniel in the May 8 primary election.
Both candidates were sent questions to answer and those answers are printed below unedited and in their entirety, with David Daniel’s answers first.
Why are you running for Brown County Commissioner?
I am running for Brown County Commissioner for the same reason that make me a good father and a husband. I believe that a Christian Conservative Republican can bring back honesty, integrity and compassion to the Commissioner job. I think that a Commissioner should be totally focused on Brown County and the people of Brown County.
What are your qualifications?
I have a college education from the University of Cincinnati in Business Management.
I have worked for a fortune 500 realty investment firm. I was part of the acquisition team and sat on the Board of Directors. I also worked in the Mechanical Maintenance Department.
I have been in business for myself for 20 years here in Brown County.
I am from a working class family. My grandfather started the roofing company in 1935. My dad was a 52 year union man. My other grandfather was a tobacco farmer. I was raised to know the value of hard work and the value of a dollar.
What are the biggest challenges facing the county and what is your plan to address them?
Some of the challenges in the county are DRUGS and JOBS. I am going to work closely with the Sheriff’ office, the Prosecutor office, and the Courts to drive out this problem. I plan on working closely with the Economic Director for future growth for the whole county. County office buildings are outdated. They need to be remodeled. I will look for grant money to pay for this expense. Employee benefits and retirement must be a focus, as well.
As a challenger, what, if anything, would you change about the operation or priorities of the office?
A Commissioner needs to treat the job as a full time job. I plan to be at the office Monday through Friday. I also plan on going to Township and Village meetings to hear what the people of Brown County have to say and also need.
The Commissioner’s office has a set of rules and guide lines that need to be followed to the letter. A Commissioner can not make the laws, but must follow the law.
What else would you like voters to know?
I plan to take a pro-active approach to this job. Before any money is spent, I will look at all sides of the issues or problem.
The most important thing is the future of Brown County and our children. We need safe schools, good jobs, nice roads ,and affordable housing. This can be accomplished with a fresh, conservative, compassionate and honest approach.
I believe with this mind set, I can do great things for Brown County.

Incumbent Tony Applegate submitted the following answers.
Why are you running for Brown County Commissioner?
I am currently a County Commissioner and would like to continue serving the citizens of Brown County. I enjoy the work and privilege of being actively involved in the administration of our county government, working with the public and our county employees on issues and topics that impact our communities. I feel I bring a common sense, business-minded approach to the office.
What are your qualifications?
I have nearly 30 years of successful business ownership experience. My background includes general contracting, residential construction and commercial property development. Along with my wife, I have started and operated various retail businesses over the years. I am a bank director, since 2009, for a local community bank and I am a U.S. Army Veteran.
What are the biggest challenges facing the county and what is your plan to address them?
Our rural county continues to face a drug and opioid epidemic that plagues many lower income counties across the state and nation. The drug epidemic consumes a huge share of county resources, it overloads the court systems and our current jail.
We are just now beginning the task of adding additional space to our jail to alleviate overcrowding. The jail was built in 1981 to hold 38 inmates, but now typically has a population of 70 or more, and has had more than 100 at times in the past.
The commissioners office, working closely with the prosecutor, the courts, and the sheriff’s office, helped to create the first full-time drug task force in the county. This task force continues to show great success in the battle against drugs, but we still have a long battle ahead of us.
As an incumbent, what have you accomplished that you are proud of this term?
The Board of County Commissioners consists of three seats, with each serving a staggered term of four years. It would be difficult to list in this article everything that I feel has been accomplished so far, but I will try to note a few.
We were able to secure the sale of 29 acres of county-owned property in Mt. Orab, retiring $750,000 in county debt, for an auto mall development. This once vacant land now provides jobs and tax revenue for the county, and more development is expected on the remaining acreage.
We have invested more than $1.3 million in overdue repairs and upgrades to county facilities, without adding any new debt.
When taking office, the “rainy day” fund had a balance of less than $20,000, today it has more than $630,000.
Working with our Economic Development Director and a CDBG grant, we established a Revolving Loan Fund designed to assist private business in startup and expansion within the County. The first project funded was a 43-unit assisted-living facility which recently opened in the former Southern State College campus.
Through 2016, using funds from both the Ohio EPA and the Ohio AG office, we were able to secure more than $800,000 of funding that allowed the county to repair/replace failing septic systems for low income families and to teardown more than 3 dozen building structures to reduce neighborhood blight.
Since taking office, over $1 million of CDBG funding has provided for projects such as road/sidewalk repairs and fire/ems equipment in LMI (low-to-moderate income) Villages and Townships.
What else would you like voters to know?
I have spent much of my business career learning how to manage people, time, budgets, and planning for the future, and I believe it is these skills and experiences that help to make me an effective County Commissioner.
I appreciate the support I have received during my term in office and ask for your continued support in the May 8th primary election.