Tim Ley wants voters to know he’s personally against the development of industrial wind farms in Crawford County.
“They will ruin the countryside; it will ruin the view of the landscape,” said Ley, of 3365 Stephenie Drive, a Republican seeking a second term on the Crawford County Board of Commissioners.
He faces two challengers in the May 3 primary – Dale Wolfe, of 3865 Knauss Road; and Corey Orewiler, of 2850 Spore Brandywine Road. No Democrats filed in the race. Any independent candidates considering a run have until May 2 to file petitions with the Crawford County Board of Elections.
Ley, 62, said Crawford could be the first county in the state to restrict industrial wind farm development under the process set forth by Senate Bill 52, which became law last summer.
“We’re the first county in the state of Ohio, so history is being made in Crawford County,” he said. Officials from other counties considering a similar action have been calling Crawford County, asking how commissioners here have proceeded, he said.
Commissioners will have public hearing on April 21
The new law places the burden of making a decision about wind farm development on the shoulders of the three county commissioners, Ley said – an early version of the legislation gave that power to township trustees.
“But they did leave an out,” Ley said. If commissioners vote to restrict wind farm development in Crawford County, wind proponents can circulate petitions and have a referendum vote.
“Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, several hundred people have written to us, saying we want to vote,” he said.
Commissioners will have a public hearing on the issue at 1 p.m. April 21 in the youth building at the Crawford County Fairgrounds. Shortly thereafter, they’ll vote on whether to restrict development.
If they do, wind farm proponents will have 30 days to collect signatures from 1,186 registered voters in Crawford County to place a referendum issue on the fall ballot, he explained.
‘All of my career has been serving others’
Ley, a 1977 graduate of Bucyrus High School, served 36 years at the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, including 17 as the county’s DARE officer.
“All of my career has been serving others, serving the public, starting with Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts,” he said. “Serving people, making things better.”
Four years ago, he was asked to run for county office, Ley said.
“I ran for commissioner, and then I won the election and therefore I had to retire from the sheriff’s office,” he said. “You just can’t do two. So I did that. The last four years have been very enlightening, very helpful, again, serving the people.”
He has three children, he said. His oldest son works at Ohio Mutual Insurance, his daughter is a longtime Walmart employee and his younger son, a registered nurse, supervises an assisted living complex in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He has two grandchildren. His parents still live in Bucyrus.
Ley said he’s pleased with what he’s accomplished in his first term.
“The first time I did it because I needed some change,” he said. “Change is made up here in the government. And we did some changes.”
County consolidated gas and electric bills
He also wanted to keep a close eye on the county’s budget, to ensure county taxpayers’ money is being spent wisely, he said.
“The first thing we did in the first three months of my office up here is we consolidated the county gas budget,” Ley said. “All the outlying buildings into one bill, which we saved $80,000 of taxpayers money by doing that. And then we worked on the electric bills from all of the outlying buildings into one electric bill, and that again was savings to the taxpayers.”
The benefit of consolidating such bills is something he learned while serving on the Colonel Crawford Board of Education for 22 years – “again, service to the community,” Ley said.
Why is Ley seeking a second term?
“Why I’m running for reelection is we’re just now in the thick of so many things to serve our public,” he said. “The major thing going on right now, project-wise, is the water lines. We are spending our ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) money, which the county received, the government money. And once in a lifetime, we’ll never be able to do it again, is to provide safe drinking water to citizens of Crawford County.”
The first goal is to ensure homes surrounding the Crawford County Landfill on the Lincoln Highway east of Bucyrus have access to safe drinking water. The process of extending Bucyrus’ water lines in that area has already begun; commissioners plan another project this year.
“Because we heard complaints about sooner or later, my well water’s going to go tainted, which could be,” Ley said.
Next up will be extending Bucyrus water lines into Sulphur Springs, “and then the major one is taking water all the way into Oceola and beyond … because they need drinking water as well,” he said.
“We would never be able to afford doing that without this ARPA money,” Ley said.
Crestline also plans to use its share of the ARPA money on water lines, extending its service into the Leesville and Lake Galion areas, he said. Galion will use its share for water treatment plant improvements.
‘I am there for them’
Other issues include landfill management and the county’s Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) grants, he said.
“The landfill, we’re working with the landfill Rumpke people on doing what’s best and what we can do to manage that better,” he said. “Better being compaction rate can be more and if it’s more, it makes more room for the landfill. Because the more you compact it, the smaller it gets and then we can put more in there …
“Other than that, we want to work with the CHIP grant to make sure we can get our handicapped people get their ramps built, because there is money available through the CHIP grant to have these ramps built.”
He said he wants to focus on making sure more people know the money is available.
County residents should feel free to contact him with their issues, Ley said.
“I am there for them. I’m open-door. I’m free to talk and I am very busy with their suggestions and concerns,” Ley said. “I am here for them and same thing as with the windmills – they spoke very loudly and they informed us about how important this is a big project right now, is the windmills. But we got the message and we’re going to do something about it.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding