Veteran incumbents challenged by business owners
Two self-employed business owners, Mike Evanoff and Jeff Pettit, are challenging veteran incumbents, Ron Sims and Richard Welling, for seats on the Lake Township Board of Trustees in the Nov. 3 election.
In these tough economic times, who knows how to stretch a dollar more than an owner/operator of a small business, reasons Evanoff, who hopes to use his entrepreneurial skills as a trustee.
“My wife and I have been doing this for 20 years in bad and good economies and our doors are still open,” the owner of Suburban Motors said. “A sense of discipline is what I want to bring to the table.”
If elected, Evanoff, who’s been regularly attending trustee meetings for several years, said he’d scrutinize the expenditure of every township dollar, casting a keen eye especially on equipment and related purchases.
As the owner of a business and commercial property along State Route 51, Evanoff said he’s also well suited to promote the Route 51 corridor for prospective businesses and thereby expand the township’s tax base.
“I think we need to push like heck to get more business on our stretch of Woodville Road,” he said. “I know first hand from starting a business what it’s like to jump through all the hoops – the zoning and other regulations. I want to make it as smooth as possible to open and generate business out here.”
Evanoff said he supports the township’s efforts to have the speed limit on Route 51 lowered by the Ohio Department of Transportation to 45 miles per hour.
Another challenger for a seat on the board of trustees, Jeff Pettit, said he’d focus on improvements to the park system.
Soccer, softball, and T-ball programs at Fireside Park have risen in popularity, he said, and the park should be equipped with electrical service, permanent restrooms, a concession stand, and running water.
“We need to look out more for the kids,” he said. “You go to a soccer tournament and the turnout is unbelievable.”
Pettit said he’d push for developing a park in the Moline area where there has been residential growth in recent years.
A small-business owner, Pettit says his experience in the private sector also gives him a good perspective on adjusting to changes in the local economy.
Of the current board’s decision to purchase the former Highway Patrol post on Lemoyne Road, he says: “Do we really need that?”
Incumbent Richard Welling is seeking his fourth term as a trustee. If re-elected, he said he’ll focus on economic development.
With the completion this year of a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) agreement with the City of Toledo at Metcalf Field, the township is better positioned for new business, he said.
The trustees last month hosted a business/local government summit to discuss job creation and retention as part of a Jobs Initiative Project the trustees implemented to capitalize on the township being a hub for transportation-related facilities.
“We’re also adding a link to the township Web site for businesses and job seekers to use and have had some good comments,” he said. “The businesses and residents seem very excited about that.”
Welling notes the township has developed Fireside and Friendship parks and constructed a new fire station on Ayers Road without a tax increase. Grants and volunteers, he said, were responsible for almost everything at the parks other than the initial land purchases.
The trustees have had informal talks to acquire property in the Moline area for another park, he said.
He describes the current board of trustees as fiscally conservative and keeping a “tight rein” on the general fund budget, adding the township has avoided having to lay off personnel.
Residents have also benefited by the township joining the Northwest Ohio Aggregation Coalition to pool the purchasing of gas and electrical service, Welling said.
Incumbent Ron Sims said the current board has worked well together to maintain a balanced budget and avoid layoffs.
An example of the trustee’s frugality is the purchase of six used Chevy Tahoes for the police department, he said, which saved the township about $100,000.
Promoting the JEDD and Jobs Initiative Project will bolster economic development prospects, he said.
“We need to try to relieve some of the tax burden on our residents and get some support for bringing in tax dollars so we can avoid layoffs in our fire, police, and streets departments. We need those services,” he said.
To familiarize himself with the responsibilities of fire and police department personnel, Sims enrolled in the Citizens Police Academy in Toledo and has completed the certification process for volunteer fire fighters.
He was instrumental in negotiating for the purchase of land for the fire station on Ayers Road and the adjacent property where Fireside Park is located.
“We don’t have a park levy,” he said “We have a park committee and use grants and donations.”
In the Village of Walbridge, were it not for two write-in candidates there wouldn’t be a contested race for four seats on council.
Traci Taylor, a former member of council, is on the ballot as a write-in candidate as is Patrick Fox, who was appointed to a seat in August following the resignation of Ron Liwo. Fox has held a council seat in the past.
Sue Hart-Douglas and Jan Sawaya are also contending for seats along with Ed Kolanko, an incumbent.
Write-in candidates also make the race for four seats on Pemberville Village Council competitive.
Ryan Fuerst and Robert Vespi, Jr., are on the ballot as write-ins. The other candidates are Larry Bockbrader, Eric Campbell, and Marge Cox.
Thomas Oberhouse is unopposed for a seat on the board of public affairs.
Four persons are vying for two seats on the township board of trustees: Keith Avers, Rick Rahe, Lewis Renollet, and Ellen Walston.
Danny Biniker, Matthew Brinker, Earl Hagg, Tome Loew, and Ken Recker are vying for two seats on the township board of trustees.