By Ed Runyan
Frank Fuda says Trumbull County has built miles of sewer and water lines, gotten loads of snow plowing and grass cutting from jail inmates — and kept its finances in order over the seven years he’s been county commissioner.
He cites $50 million in new sewer and water lines, $27 million of which came from grants.
“We have eliminated 17 percent of the septic systems by replacing them with new sewer systems, making it easier for citizens to sell their homes and for industries to locate in our county,” he said.
A program Fuda helped start put jail inmates to work shoveling driveways and cutting grass. It has saved more than $2 million since it began in 2007, he said. The sheriff’s office has secured $2 million worth of surplus military items, such as vehicles and kitchen supplies, he said.
More sewers are needed, and additional problems exist with public transportation and drug abuse, he said.
His opponent for commissioner in the May 6 Democratic primary, Lisha Pompili-Baumiller, a longtime Hubbard council member, agrees that transportation is a problem, saying she will work diligently to “bring senior transportation back, services that were cut.”
She said in a recent interview, “Our seniors make a large percentage of our population. They deserve to have their independence.”
She said she didn’t know specifically how much transportation money had been taken away or how she would re-prioritize the spending.
Her main issue, Pompili-Baumiller said, is that Trumbull County government has become stagnant instead of aggressive, and it doesn’t represent all areas of the county or all parts of the population.
“I am very passionate at what I do. We deserve someone who is aggressive,” she said, adding that Trumbull County hasn’t modernized as much as it could.
“I just feel you have to be open to diversity, to give all areas and all people equal opportunity,” she said, adding that she is referring to minority opportunity as an example.
“Not all villages and cities are acknowledged as they could be,” she said when asked what communities are being left out. She added that she’s not just talking about Hubbard, though she said she’s never seen Fuda at a Hubbard council meeting during her 12 years on council. “I feel I’m a candidate for the people. I feel [the county] has been run matter-of-fact.”
She cited Fuda’s remarks at various gatherings where he spoke about cooperation among various county officials and the three commissioners.
“That’s great, but that’s why there are three [commissioners]. There should be some conversation,” she said.
Pompili-Baumiller said Fuda has talked recently about the seven years it took to secure the grants to carry out the $10.6 million Kinsman sewer project.
“Yes, we’ve had some projects completed, but not in a timely fashion,” she said.
She has worked 31 years in the banking business and thinks she could have helped people in the past who had trouble getting low-interest loans to install septic systems.
Fuda said Trumbull County government has experienced millions in cuts from state funding each of the last two years.
“We have been fortunate that all of our elected officials work together adjusting to the losses and still provide services to our citizens,” he said. “We look for every way possible to function at the same level of services for our citizens.”
As to Pompili Baumiller’s contention that the commissioners don’t “acknowledge” all cities and villages as much as they should, Fuda said he has helped “every township in this county.”
He added, “I’m there every morning. I take every phone call. I’m on vacation in Florida, I take the call.”