Friday also would have been the the 29th birthday of his oldest son, Daniel, who was fatally struck by a car while bicycling in 2008. Duncan said his late son “still inspires me to make Norwalk the best place to live, work, play and worship.”
Many of Duncan’s family members were in attendance Friday. Several local political officials also were at the Whittlesey Avenue coffee shop: Huron County Commissioner Terry Boose, Erie County Commissioner Matt Old, Huron County Recorder Jan Tkach and Ellen Heinz, Norwalk safety-service director.
“I couldn’t do what I do without my family,” said Duncan, who added it took a lot of prayer and thought to see if he wanted to seek a third term.
Duncan, a Republican, will face Dave Wallace in the May primary. Wallace, who announced his candidacy in July, represents the second ward of Norwalk on city council. The Realtor received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force and served the city as a firefighter for more than 16 years.
The winner of the primary will face Democratic challenger Dave Light in the November general election. The lifelong Norwalk resident was a city police officer for 34 years and retired as the chief.
Duncan said he is running on his record — not against opponents.
“We have accomplished so much over the past seven years, including a new fire station, which was talked about for well over 50 years,” he added, while touting many other infrasture-related accomplishments during his two terms as mayor.
Duncan praised Norwalk Fire Chief John Soisson and “the great citizens of Norwalk” who contributed about $2 million dollars in cash and in-kind donations to make the station a reality “without borrowing a penny.”
One of Duncan’s biggest goals when he was first elected was to have all of U.S. 250 curbed.
“Now it is,” he said. “That was a big deal.”
Duncan credited department heads with doing “more with less” and noted they “have done a great job making necessary cuts.” He also said the city has been able to maintain an average yearly cash carry-over of $2.1 to $2.3 million over his first seven years — a mark Norwalk strives to hit as it would carry the city for about four months if there were some type of disaster.
“We are pretty excited that when the most recent numbers came out that even though there was over an $800,000 deficit predicted for 2018, we had a $307,000 surplus,” Duncan added.
“One of greatest joys has been working with the businesses in Norwalk,” said Duncan, who stressed the time and effort spent on the Borgers Ohio Inc. project.
“Borgers has been one of our big successes here in Norwalk,” he added. “Today they have a nearly $100 million investment into the city of Norwalk. They are running about 350 employees, even though they were predicted to be about 193, so we are very blessed to have that company in our community.”
Duncan mentioned the ongoing drug issue — one of the biggest challenges in the area.
“Our police force has stepped up to the challenge; they’ve done a great job,” he said. “You, the voters, went to the booth and allowed us to pass a levy, so we can add a 25th police officer; this will be the first time Norwalk will be up to 25 police officers.”
Given the number of cops, it allows the police department to keep another detective in the detective bureau.
“It’s very important to this drug situation. Because let me tell you: One person lost is too many,” Duncan said.
Ultimately, he said he believes Norwalk is moving in a positive direction.
“At the end of the day, we love this community,” Duncan added. “I want to thank all of you who supported me over the years.”