O’Brien advocates ‘stable budget,’ wants to see projects’ completion
Incumbent county commissioner Ken O’Brien is running for another term to “ensure the taxpayer dollars are wisely spent,” and to finish projects currently underway.
“There is a learning curve, and I would like to see those completed,” said O’Brien, who was endorsed by the Delaware County Republican Party’s central committee.
In particular, O’Brien wants to help oversee the successful and seamless transition to new 911 system, especially since lives are at stake.
He also wants to continue working with the Central Ohio Youth Center consortium to make sure it is cost-effective, while providing a safe and secure environment for youth.
O’Brien said that maintaining a stable budget would be essential for Delaware County’s progress. This point was illustrated when Ohio Family and Children First Council came to the commissioners when the state did not provide funds for mandated services ahead of time.
From homeland security and emergency management, to jobs and family services, O’Brien said that the county needs to be prepared by reserving funds.
“Delaware County is very fortunate to have the resources that we have, but we need to be very cautious in how we spend it so that we can meet these pressing needs,” said O’Brien.
A fund reserve is also critical as local governments anticipate further cuts from state funding, he added.
One of his plans for meeting these goals is to endorse collaboration projects, such as sharing the high-speed fiber optic cable with schools or other public entities.
“The county should not compete with private companies,” said O’Brien, “But any public entity should be able to access Delaware County fiber…that we don’t need.”
O’Brien touted his ability to monitor spending while serving on the board of commissioners.
“One of the things that I committed to when I ran the first time was to spend county dollars the way that I would spend my own dollars,” said O’Brien. “I’m confident my votes reflect that.”
He was especially pleased with his influence in stationing the county’s juvenile and probate courts in the Hayes Government Service Building at 140 N. Sandusky St. Compared to the other commissioners’ plans, O’Brien said that moving the courts into the already partially completed Hayes building was “a better use of resources.”
The renovations cost $1.7 million, which O’Brien said was a small fraction of what the county could have spent, and “stopped a courthouse from being built before it was needed.”
That project as well as renovating the jail to increase capacity were timed such that construction costs “would be reasonable,” said O’Brien.
“I want to be sure that we are able to tackle the big decisions in a timely manner, such that we are able to reduce costs,” he said.
O’Brien addressed facing personnel as well as budgetary challenges throughout his last term, but ultimately described the experience as fulfilling.
“Day by days, there are ways to save money for the county,” he said.
O’Brien added that with his previous experience serving as a township trustee and on zoning commission, he has been exposed to many aspects of county government.