Primary hopefuls present different views

WARREN – The people seeking the Democratic nomination for commissioner are offering voters differing perspectives of the condition of Trumbull County: One says she’s the right person to pull it from the doldrums; the other says he’s right to continue the county’s growth and development.

Lisha Pompili-Baumiller, the councilwoman from Hubbard who’s making her first attempt at countywide office, said county government needs to rid itself of ”tunnel vision” and stop being ”focused on just being content, status quo.”

Business attraction is an ”area we’ve been very stagnant in,” she said.

Frank Fuda, running for a third four-year term as commissioner, said the economy is developing here, pointing out that the area is sixth in the U.S. ”with industries and businesses locating here and expanding the businesses we have here.”

Fuda mentions Ohio Star Forge in Champion, which is planning a $20 million expansion and the growth of Flex-Strut Inc. in Warren. There also have been big strides in sewer line installation, which, in part, provides benefits in the development of the local economy, Fuda said.

The winner of the May 6 primary election will face Republican candidate Patricia Hale Paridon in November. There’s also still time for an independent candidate to file. Early voting is underway.

Pompili-Baumiller, now a Hubbard councilwoman for 14 years and chair of council’s economic development committee, said she wants to assemble a team of people to work with banks, Realtors and commissioners in Mahoning County ”to do nothing but focus on trying to bring new business to the area” by selling the area’s logistics, available work force and other benefits.

She said there needs to be more coordination with trade schools and colleges to prepare residents needing work for the jobs that are or will be available, like in the developing gas and oil well drilling industry.

”One of the reasons that I strongly feel that I would be an asset to the county … is because I have strong communication skills, I’m an advocate for people and I know with my negotiation skills, I can be very instrumental during times of trying to entice new businesses to come to our area,” said Pompili-Baumiller, 49.

Also, she wants to examine public transportation, specifically for funding for senior rides, which she says is a service that has been cut.

Fuda, elected commissioner in 2006 after 17 years as a member of city council in Niles, said Trumbull County is making progress on sewer installation and by the end of 2014, close to $60 million in projects will be completed. Sewer lines, he said, boost the economy by making it easier for residents and Realtors to sell homes and can be an enticement for businesses looking for a location.

”We’ve also eliminated, by doing those sanitary sewer project, we’ve eliminated 17 percent of the septic systems and at the end of the year, it will be over 20 percent,” Fuda said.

Fuda said he’ll keep up his work with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber, the county’s Planning Commission and Western Reserve Port Authority to ”help local businesses expand and bring new industries and businesses” to the county.

He also said the county has been able to contain millions of dollars in state cuts to the county budget to keep it balanced, people working and services still being provided. The jail inmate work program he helped start has done more than $2 million in stuff done like grass cutting and maintaining vacant property.