Among the candidates for seats on the Archbold Village Council and the German Township Trustees, there was very little support for separating the village from the township.
Nor was there support for moving St. Rt. 66 to Co. Rd. 24.
And there was even less support for the village of Archbold buying new fire equipment to replace equipment owned by the township.
And council and the trustees need to work together.
Those were among the major points made by the candidates during Meet the Candidates Night, Thursday, Oct. 12.
The Archbold Buckeye and Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the program.
More than 115 people attended the forum to hear the candidates’ positions.
Joe Short, candidate for trustee, said “absolutely not” to separation and to moving St. Rt. 66 to Co. Rd. 24.
On separation, he said, “Just say no, and we’re good to go.”
Brad Short, candidate for council, said he didn’t see a need to separate the village from the township.
When it comes to the fire department, he said people ask him, “‘Why are we even having this discussion? We didn’t know the fire department was broken,’” he said.
He said he was not in favor of the village assuming total control of the fire department.
B. Short agreed the question of equalization– of township residents paying the same rate for fire protection as those in the village– needs to be addressed.
Currently, village residents pay more for fire protection than those in the township, but outside the village.
On the topic of separation of the village from the township, he said, “We need each other. We need to work with one another.”
He was not in favor of moving St. Rt. 66 to Co. Rd. 24.
“I think there are other things that can be done” to alleviate Archbold traffic problems, he said.
Andy Brodbeck, retired fire chief and a trustee candidate, said he didn’t know if moving the highway to Co. Rd. 24 was the solution.
And if the village boundaries are conformed, he would not be able to serve as trustee.
“I believe we need to continue to work together,” Brodbeck said.
The fire department question has “become a complex issue,” he said. He worked with both village officials and the township while he was chief.
Who owns the trucks, he said, “doesn’t matter– we’re all German Township.
“It’s a matter of working together.”
Stacey Heckel, a council candidate, said she wants to find out what the needs are, and then see the community “work towards a common goal” on the St. Rt. 66-Co. Rd. 24 issue.
There might be options “that may not satisfy all the needs, but would be better than other options,” she said.
She admitted she was not up to speed on the separation issue, but wants council and the trustees to find ways “to bridge the gap” on the fire department question.
Drew Ginn, a council candidate, said he is not for conformity of boundaries. On the fire department question, “I think we can all still agree to work together,” he said.
Ginn said, “No one knows the answer” on the St. Rt. 66-Co. Rd. 24 issue, and the question could be up to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Vaughn Bentz, the only incumbent candidate for council, said he thinks “there is a benefit to getting the trucks out of town.”
He said he has a 500-page study on his desk that says moving trucks out of town would improve safety, result in shoppers lingering longer, and create a better ambiance for visitors.
The original intention was to redo Co. Rd. 24 to the same truck bypass standard as Co. Rd. 22, he said.
He suggested taking the $7-$8 million the village would spend on the ODOT plan and make Co. Rd. 24 better.
Bentz said not having a truck bypass on the west side of the village already has had a negative impact, noting Bil-Jax officials moved the company parts department from Archbold to an out-ofstate location.
On the issue of separating Archbold from German Township, Bentz said he could support the idea.
“The trustees pretty much support the farmers. (Separation) would just put in effect what actually exists,” he said.
Bentz noted he has been a lone voice on council against the idea of buying all new fire equipment to create a village fire department.
He calls for splitting the fire department issue into two parts– the ownership of the equipment, and equity in payments.
Everyone, he said, is in agreement that both those inside the village and outside should pay equally.
“I don’t care who owns the trucks. The titles (to the fire trucks) are just pieces of paper,” he said.
Don’t See The Need
Bruce Lauber, incumbent trustee candidate, said on the issue of Co. Rd. 24, “Wow. I’m part of the problem.”
Lauber said trustees were approached by village officials to change stop signs on the county road to allow traffic to flow freely between Archbold and the then-new Ohio Turnpike interchange.
Four-way stop signs were put up, as required by Ohio law, for 90 days.
But after the 90 days, the late Richard Erbskorn, former fire chief, said to leave the four-way stop signs up because they reduced accidents at the intersections.
Lauber suggested the township could accommodate the village.
“I see no reason certain stop signs couldn’t be taken down,” he said.
A former firefighter himself, Lauber said the split system– with the village owning the fire stations and operating the department, and the township owning the equipment– had been modeled by other communities throughout the state, and the nation.
The department has good equipment, and there is no reason for the village to own it.
On the issue of separation, Lauber said, “I don’t see the need for it,” adding the township and the village need to work together on issues such as annexation, the fire department, roads, and schools.
A.J. Schroeder, a council candidate and former firefighter for the Archbold and Ridgeville departments, said he doesn’t want to see the fire department split up and response time to emergencies go up.
Plus, he said, Archbold would have to spend millions of dollars on new equipment.
Schroeder doesn’t want to see the village and township split, and he opposes the 66- 24 issue.
The council “lost some transparency and wasn’t listening to the voice of the people,” he said.
He suggested it was time for “new voices” on council.
Randy Ruffer, an incumbent trustee, said over the last 16 to 18 months, relations between the council and the trustees have been tense, and the debate has become personal.
He said he had several friendships that have been broken over the issues.
He said the Archbold Fire Department is second to none, and his desire is to see the equipment stay with German Township, and the two sides try to work together.
Township ownership of the fire equipment provides checks and balances on the fire department issues.
The whole issue, he said, is Co. Rd. 24. To be safe for truck traffic, the road needs to be widened; but that, he said, takes money.
While he opposes moving St. Rt. 66 to Co. Rd. 24, he said, “The trustees want to work with the village” on Co. Rd. 24.