By Sam Metry
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter
For villages like Ovid and Westphalia, getting noticed by Clinton County can be a bit of a challenge.
Clinton County has two cities that dominate the population, and that hold a plurality of voters in DeWitt and St. John. The two towns combine for about 15,000 citizens, according to a statistic from the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau. Clinton County has just shy of 77,000 citizens.
However, Ovid has around 1,600 and Westphalia has around 900, according to the 2010 census.
“We’re definitely smaller than some of the cities in Clinton County,” said Ovid Clerk Michelle Robinson. “People probably think of (DeWitt and St. Johns) before they think of us.”
Being smaller makes it harder for villages to get the help they need at times, Robinson said, though leaders in the county’s biggest areas say they are mindful of their smaller neighbors.
“We have no problem helping out the smaller villages in the county,” said Clinton County Clerk Diane Zuker. “We know that they’re smaller and need more help so it’s not a problem for us to give it to them. Cities like DeWitt and St. Johns don’t need our help in the same way that the smaller villages and townships do.”
That is true, Westphalia city clerk Sandy Smith said.
“We get a lot of help from the county in terms of public safety,” said Smith. “Our police force is much smaller so the county police steps in and helps us if we ask them to.”
The county police helps out with police investigations by providing manpower technical support, Smith said. Villages like Westphalia and Ovid don’t have forensic teams so most of the lab work is done by the county.
The bigger cities in Clinton County tend to have bigger problems, Zuker said.
“If a road needs to be repaved in St. Johns, its going to probably going to be a bigger job than if a road needs to be repaved in Ovid,” said Zuker.
This can actually be a blessing for the smaller villages, Zuker said.
“The smaller villages probably costs less to repave a road, so we could make the funds available quicker than if a larger city needs to repave a road,” said Zuker.
Zuker does recognize the problems from a small town perspective though.
“The smaller towns probably don’t see the same profit from local businesses that the larger ones do,” said Zuker. “So the taxes that the towns make aren’t going to be as high as they would be in St. Johns or DeWitt.”