STEUBENVILLE - Scott Renforth is challenging incumbent Patrick Marshall in the May 6 Democrat primary election for Jefferson County auditor.
Marshall, 77, has served as county auditor for more than 18 years. Prior to his appointment and re-elections, he worked in the county auditor's office for six years. Prior to that, Marshall worked in the state auditor's office and worked in private accounting for 27 years. Marshall is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
"When I came into office, the Jefferson County finances were a mess. The book balance did not agree with the bank balance, while currently we balance daily. My (department) budget in 2014 is still $100,000 less than my 1995 budget. I have upgraded Jefferson County's bond rating from junk investment grade and resold bonds several times saving the taxpayers of the county millions of dollars. I have kept the tax rates in Jefferson County among the lowest in the state, and have kept the appraisal costs among the lowest in the state," Marshall said.
Marshall said his staff has written most of its computer programs, developed a computer network for county departments and a county website. He said the office also developed its own GIS program and computerized real estate system.
"Every year as county auditor, I received a clean audit opinion from the state auditor, as well as the Certificate for Excellence in Government Financial Reporting, the highest award possible. I am proud of what we have done and will continue to maintain the highest standards possible in carrying out my duties as custodian of the funds of Jefferson County," Marshall said.
Renforth, 42, of 512 Daniels St., Toronto, is set to graduate from the Franciscan University of Steubenville with a master's degree in business administration.
He has been a county sheriff's deputy for 15 years, having spent the last 12 years assigned as a resource officer at the Edison Local School District.
"I am running to offer the residents of Jefferson County something different, a better alternative to the status quo and a choice for the voters other than years of public officials running unopposed. When elected as auditor, I will ensure that Jefferson County residents are offered the best public service, consumer protection and fiscal accountability. I will look for ways to streamline county government and always put the interests of taxpayers first," Renforth said.
One of the auditor's duties is to inspect gasoline pumps. Renforth said the current two employees doing the inspections should be able to inspect all pumps in the county twice a year, instead of the current once.
Renforth said he questioned council members, treasurers and school board members about services from the auditor's office.
"The answer was unanimous. The turnaround time on their operating money from taxes is taking way too long to get to them. It is my promise to ensure they receive their money as soon as is possible," he said.