As the year 2012 comes to a close it’s time to take a look
back at the career of a retiring Lake County official.
For Commissioner Raymond
, his last official meeting after 10 years on the board was
Sines has served since he was appointed by the Lake County
Republican Party in 2003, and then won two elections to four-year terms.
During his time in office, he was the lone Republican on
the three-member Board of Commissioners.
Sometimes Sines didn’t agree with his Democratic
colleagues on the board, but what I think made him effective was that he choose
his battles carefully.
He was the kind of commissioner who could sternly make his
point during an open session and even staunchly disagree with a colleague, then
crack a joke about the situation when the meeting was over.
Sines occasionally would say it takes two votes to get
something passed by commissioners, which is certainly true. With that in mind,
he had the understanding that no matter his opinion, there were two other
commissioners who might not agree with him. So he had to work together with his
Even though he disagreed on some issues, including
building a high-level bridge over Vrooman Road in Leroy and Perry townships or
the creation of the Lake County Stormwater Management Department, Sines’
influence was noticeable.
I think his ability to be reasonable when it came to
making decisions and his work ethic also made him effective.
When it came time earlier this year for the commissioners
to announce a plan to increase the countywide sales tax rate by 0.5 percent to
deal with budgetary concerns, Commissioner Daniel
frequently said that he wanted bipartisan support before he
would agree to raise the sales tax. What that really meant was Sines needed to
support it too.
Sines told me many times that he did not want to raise the
rate, but he felt the county’s finances had gotten to a point where major cuts
would have been needed and there was no certainty that services could be maintained
to a level that residents expected.
When Sines recently reflected back on his tenure, he said
the sales tax issue was one of his toughest decisions as a commissioner.
Part of what went into that decision was Sines also felt
that the county Stormwater Management Department had more funding than was
necessary and that if the other two commissioners would support cutting the
user fees to property owners by 50 percent as part of an overall package, then
he would support the sales tax increase.
So what ensued was the proposal spearheaded by Troy and
agreed to by Commissioner Robert E.
and Sines to raise the sales tax by 0.5 and decrease the
stormwater user fees by 50 percent, plus reduce the rate property taxpayers pay
to the county’s General Fund by 1.1 mills.
Because the sales tax package was a unanimous decision
that made it much easier to implement and the issue did not have to be put on
the countywide ballot.
Only a referendum could have defeated the package and
there was never much hint of that developing. Meanwhile, the county’s budgetary
situation appears to have stabilized.
At his last meeting Thursday, Aufuldish said Sines and the
other two commissioners were able to put politics aside to get things done.
Troy said that Sines would be missed and he was able to
work together with Sines not only as a commissioner but when the two served
together as state representatives years ago in the Ohio General Assembly.
Sines noted at the meeting that the key to his life has
been the support of his family who allowed him to do what he wanted to do.
He added that if a script were to have been written about
how he wanted to live his life, it had contained everything he always wanted.
When Sines concluded his remarks about his retirement at
the meeting, Troy and Aufuldish — in a show of class — gave Sines a standing
The Lake County Democratic Party will swear in Aufuldish
and Commissioner Judy Moran
state Rep. John M. Rogers
Clerk of Courts Maureen G. Kelly
Recorder Ann M. Radcliffe
and Treasurer Lorraine M. Fende
at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Performing Arts Center Theater at Lakeland Community
John Arthur Hutchison
Labels: Ann Radcliffe, Daniel P. Troy, John Rogers, Judy Moran, Lake County commissioner, Lake County Democratic Party, Maureen Kelly, Raymond E. Sines, Robert E. Aufuldish