Baus: Water System, Downtown Rebuild Were Best Decisions
(Editor's Note: This is the first of a two-part series based on an interview with Larry Baus, who has served four terms on Archbold Village Council. This week, he discusses the difficulties and joys of serving and some of council's accomplishments. Next week, he will talk about 2007 and the future.)
Lifelong Archbold resident Larry Baus took an unusual path in public service.
Starting in 1976, he was a member of Archbold Village Council for eight years, leaving after two four-year terms at the end of 1983.
He said at that time, his two sons, Chad and Aaron, needed him at home.
Then, 17 years later, in 2000, he returned to council. He leaves, again after two four-year terms, at the end of this year.
"I'm getting to the age where I want to spend more time with my grandkids. I want to spend more time with my wife. It will be a pleasure. But it hasn't been a burden to serve on council. It really hasn't," he said.
While it may not have been a burden, there have been times when it's been stressful.
"I think the hardest thing for me was there are usually at least two opinions, and maybe more, on something that's a hot issue. It's hard, especially if the people are your friends.
"I've been called a liar, I've been called a lot of things by people who were stressed out at the time. Each one of us on council has; and yet, I believe... you have to look at it in your heart as the right thing to do.
"You have to say, 'Hey, I'm doing what I think is right. I've studied the subject, and I feel I'm doing what's right here. That's all I can do.
"Can you be wrong? Yup, you sure can."
But difficult times are offset by good times.
Baus said he enjoys the camaraderie of the other councilmen and those in the village administration.
And, "when something works out right, you feel really good. You feel like you did something for the town."
When asked about accomplishments during his terms on council, Baus was quick to cite the village municipal water system.
In the 1970s, the village was in negotiations with the State of Ohio to construct a large reservoir on a section of land in rural German Township. Archbold would have purchased water from the state for its needs.
Instead, after a vote of the people, the village followed a different path. A pump station was built at Co. Rd. G along the Tiffin River; then a pipeline was built from the station to Archbold.
The decision was also influenced by a water shortage in the mid-1970s. An emergency pipeline was laid from a private well to Brush Creek. Water flowed through the pipeline to Brush Creek, then to the village.
"If I recall correctly, about two days after we got the pipeline pumping into Brush Creek, it rained like crazy," he said.
By putting in the Tiffin River pumping station and pipeline, "we sell water to oodles of different people, we have plenty of water, and we've been able to attract industry because of it."
In his first eight years on council, "that was one of the best things we did," he said.
Baus readily admits he was wrong on the biggest accomplishment in his second set of eight-year terms: the North Defiance Street reconstruction project.
In 2005, North Defiance Street was rebuilt from the Norfolk Southern crossing to the Lutz Road intersection.
"I wanted to wait a year," he said.
"I didn't think it was the year to do it. I wanted to wait until we had more funds, but with all of the things that have come up with industry, we did it exactly when we should have.
"We had an extremely dry summer, and that helped so much. It couldn't have gone any better," he said.
Baus also pointed to recent renovations at the Archbold Wastewater Treatment Plant.
"That was something we needed to do," he said.
But, when it was announced that the Archbold ConAgra plant would be closed, the wastewater plant decision came into question, especially considering ConAgra is the plant's biggest customer.
"We took ConAgra at their word, as you have to do sometimes when you're dealing with industries.
"It's not always the local man- agers that make the decisions; it's the people above them. That (plant closure decision) wasn't made locally.
"That decision was made by the corporate office."
The decision to close the plant was reversed Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007.
"It was amazing to me. Jim (Wyse, Archbold mayor), Dennis (Howell, Archbold village administrator), and the ConAgra employees- that group was able to work together and get it turned around.
"I really mean that. I think Jim spent hours and hours, Dennis spent hours and hours. Council basically said, 'Guys, do what you've got to do to get it done.'
"We let them do it, and it turned out good," he said.