The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 15, 2022

Dettrow, Stinnett running for council seat

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

Van Wert’s Second Ward will have a new City Council representative in 2022.

Incumbent Second Ward Councilwoman Joi Mergy decided not to seek re-election, paving the way for two others to run for the seat: Democrat Jordan Dettrow and Republican David Stinnett. Both were unopposed in the May primary election.

The VW independent submitted a set of questions to both men. Mr. Dettrow’s answers are listed below. Mr. Stinnett did not respond with answers to the questions.

What made you decide to run for the second ward seat and what do you have to offer to City Council and the second ward?

Dettrow: I decided to run for the Second Ward seat because I am qualified for the job and confident in my ability to take over after the long tenure of Joi Mergy. I have lived in Van Wert my entire life and I want to do my part to help improve our city and continue making it a great place to live. I have had an interest in local government since completing government coursework in college. With the seat being open at the end of the year, I knew it was a great opportunity for me to put my name on the ballot.

I feel that I will offer a different perspective to City Council. My background and experiences are unique, including many organizations, businesses, and community members that I have worked with over the years.

I have a great depth of knowledge to rely on if elected to this position. These things will help me be a great leader for this community. I will offer the Second Ward a very transparent leader. It is important for representatives to listen to their constituents and respond to their problems and concerns. I will use this position to represent all people in the Second Ward, which is how it should be.

In your mind, what is the biggest issue (or issues) the city faces?

Dettrow: There are several issues that the city is currently facing. In my opinion, our biggest concern is the annual budget and use of local tax dollars. City Council has stated on many occasions that they are in a poor financial situation regarding funding of new services or positions. One example is the hiring of a Code Enforcement Officer. The idea is in place, but the funding is missing to create this position for Van Wert. It is important to continually review the annual budget and assure citizens that the local government is being fiscally responsible with their spending. With signs actually showing an increase in revenue, it will be critical for the next City Council to decide how to best use these dollars to benefit everyone.

What are your thoughts on Van Wert Forward and its potential effect on the city as a whole?

Dettrow: The Van Wert Forward initiative is very unique and presents a rare opportunity for Van Wert. There are many buildings throughout downtown that are aging and deteriorating very quickly. Unfortunately, we were not able to save one of these buildings, as it collapsed before the situation could be remedied. I believe that the projects being completed by Van Wert Forward are rather ambitious. However, the millions of dollars being invested are not local tax dollars. Its potential effect is that the downtown area will be reinvigorated and provide a welcoming space for entertainment and enjoyment for many years to come.

If elected, I find it my responsibility to be a voice for the city and its citizens. The project should be focused towards what is best for the City of Van Wert. If I hear feedback, positive or negative, I will present that information to members of Van Wert Forward and the Van Wert County Foundation. The connections that I have with some of these members will be very useful moving forward.

If elected, what is your top priority, or what is at the top of your list of things you’d like to see get accomplished?

Dettrow: There are many things that I would like to see accomplished, but my top priority would be refining city ordinances and finding a solution to enforcing them. Some steps are already being taken to resolve these issues, but if elected, I plan to jump right in and help. This has been an ongoing problem for several years and I feel there is finally some progress being made to address these concerns.

I have been attending Council meetings for several months to be sure I am up-to-date on this situation. From parking issues to deteriorating properties, City Council needs to alleviate some of the burden placed on our Police Department and find alternative methods of enforcement. One possible solution is the creation of a Code Enforcement Officer position for Van Wert, so the allocation of funds in our annual budget goes hand-in-hand with this issue.

POSTED: 10/29/21 at 3:48 am. FILED UNDER: News