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7 candidates seek 2 seats in crowded Washington Twp. trustees race

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 4:56 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 4:56 PM

Voting stickers are seen at the Ohio Union during the U.S. presidential election at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan
Associated Press
Voting stickers are seen at the Ohio Union during the U.S. presidential election at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan(Associated Press)

An open seat on the Washington Twp. Board of Trustees has created a crowded field for this November’s election.

Trustee Scott Paulson is running for re-election and six others have jumped in the race. Trustee Joyce Young is not running for re-election.

All of the candidates answered questions for our online voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com. Here’s a look at some of their responses:

Scott Colwell

Experience: I’ve been involved with local politics for over 10 years. From being a very active member of the Washington Township Forever, to spearheading sensible rezoning.such as SocialROWCPR.com Professionally, I earn my living as a program manager, where managing cost and customer satisfaction are my priorities.

David A. Douglas

Experience: I retired from Washington Township after 30 years of service. During my career, I worked in the Road / Public Works Department; Planning & Zoning Office and was also a volunteer fire fighter. I also received the prestigious AICP Certified Planner designation from the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Brian Feldmeyer

Experience: I have been a resident of Washington Twp. for 35 years. I have worked locally and owned a successful business for a number of those years and currently work with individuals and businesses as an independent insurance agent. I volunteered as a youth coach for 20 years. I served as the President of the Centerville Quarterback Club for two years. I currently serve on the board of the South Community YMCA. I understand the concerns and priorities of the residents.

Katie Levens

Experience: Miami Twp. Administrative Assistant 1996-2000: Prepared resolutions, agendas, board packets, correspondences and budgets for the Township Administrator and Board of Trustees. GDRTA Security & Facilities Supervisor 2000-2006: Managed $2.9-million budget, contract specialist for security and janitorial services, maintained contracts and relations with law enforcement and regional emergency management. Medway Technology, Inc: Vice President 2009-present; defense contractor.

Voters guide: Your best local resource for Election 2017

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Sharon Lowry

Experience: Assistant Superintendent (Retired) of Great Oaks JVS. Responsibilities include: Operations, HR, Employee Benefits, Contracts w Vendors. Staff liaison to Board of Education Members; My husband and I are small business owners since 1981. Understand the needs and challenges of small business.

Katie Levens, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Matt Lynch

Experience: I’m not a politician. I’m simply fed up with our current Trustees choosing out-of-town developers over those in our community who want to ensure that Washington Township remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. And as a husband and father to four children who grew up here and attended Alter High School I believe we owe it to them to preserve our community. As Managing partner of a consulting firm, with experience as a CEO, CFO, I can solve the township budget issues

Scott R. Paulson

Experience: Washington Township Trustee - 8 Years Owner, Advanced Engineering Solutions, Inc. 21 Years

Education: BS Mechanical Engineering (UD) Master Business Administration (UD)

Q: What are the biggest problems facing the community? What do you propose doing to tackle these challenges?

Scott Colwell: I believe the biggest problem in our community is managing the growth. I am in support of development, provided it does not damage the investments made by the citizens that currently call Washington Twp. and Centerville home. In 2004, the city of Centerville and Washington Twp. co funded “Create the Vision”. It was a 2 year study where over 800 suggestions were gathered from citizens, business owners, and area leaders. The outcome was a series of development recommendations for the city and township on areas such as land use, economic development, and Parks and recreation. I believe we need to be proactive, and revisit those recommendations.

Scott Paulson, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

David A. Douglas: The city of Centerville - Washington Twp. community is a tremendous place to live and work. The township has seen reduced income from state revenue sharing for several years. We need to find smarter and more creative ways to get the most out of the tax dollars that are spent. Organizationally we are also faced with imminent retirements of key positions. I recommend an organizational restructuring that includes replacing key positions with even more qualified personnel that is capable of getting the most out of the township’s expenditures. These positions would also work together to identify local, state and federal projects that the township can partner to help improve the quality of services and more importantly lower costs. For instance the township spends millions of dollars a year on infrastructure but the township has not had a licensed professional engineer PE / surveyor on staff for 12 years. The hiring of a PE could eliminate cost overruns, project delays and costly legal battles the township has experienced in recent years.

David Doulas, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Brian Feldmeyer: The biggest problem is trustees that do not listen to the community. Their failure to address the budget has put them in a place where they make poor decisions that hurt the residents of Washington Twp. Rather than looking for solutions and trying to do things more efficiently, they look for additional revenue with additional or increased taxes with no regard for the community. One of the primary sources of new tax revenue is outside investors. Unfortunately, many times they require zoning to be changed or disregarded for their projects and this harms Washington Twp. in many ways. I would first look to see if there were unnecessary expenses that could be eliminated or reduced. I would then look to see if there were more efficient ways of doing things, rather than continuing to do things the same way that they have been done for years. Once we outlined our options, I would make sure that what was chosen did not harm current residents.

Brian Feldmeyer, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Katie Levens: Our number one priority is to maintain our roads and bridges. Our township should continue to work with Montgomery County and the state of Ohio to aggressively secure funding where possible, but the bottom line is that we need to work within our current budget limitations and neighborhood streets currently scheduled for repair or resurfacing need to stay on schedule. We must maintain our infrastructure investment to avoid major rebuild/replacement costs in the future.

Matt Lynch, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Sharon Lowry: One of the biggest challenges facing the community is utilizing our tax dollars to meet the needs of the citizens. We need to fund the Fire department, Staff the Sheriff’s Office, recreation center, roads, maintenance, and other departments. Since the Township cannot ask for an income tax, we must utilize our dollars efficiently and effectively. We need to research and come up with innovative ways to maintain the essential services to our citizens. Collaboration with the city and county is necessary to analyze reduction of costs and efficient use of our limited funds.

Sharon Lowry, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Matt Lynch: Trustees who are completely out of touch with the community they were elected to serve. Follow the money - the township had $33,084,026 in reserves at the end of 2016. The current 5 year plan reduces reserves to $15,111,969 the end of 2021. This means the trustees approved a budget that spends almost $18 Million more than we all pay in taxes over the next five years. To make up of this breach of their fiduciary duty to you the taxpayer, they will do anything to raise money, including lowering zoning standards to allow developers to do anything they want as long as it generates new tax revenue. They raised taxes twice in 2 years. This week, they voted 3-0 to override the zoning commissions unanimous vote to allow the takeover of Hithergreen violating long-standing zoning regulations. When elected, I will put an immediate stop to zoning changes negatively impacting existing residents. I will reduce spending and find ways to lower local taxes through more efficient government.

Scott Colwell, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)
Scott R. Paulson: Washington Twp. is on a wonderful growth path. With sound leadership in this community, we have planned well for our future and have wonderful opportunities for growth. As the community expands, this growth must be managed and difficult decisions made as to how to facilitate growth in building, recreation and maintain existing infrastructure and programs. Sound leadership with an experienced track record of managing growth is critical to success. With sound business principles and a community minded approach to sustainable growth, I will continue to guide the growth of this community. I will, as I have in the past, challenged decisions, reduced expenditures and invest in worthwhile projects for our community. I believe that the best way to sustain success and deal with challenges is to have good honest debate and make decisions that benefit the most members of our community.

Waynesville school issue passed by 7 votes, recount ahead

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 6:00 PM


            Passage of Issue 19 would repay debt on bonds issued to finance more than $26.5 million in funds used to build a new Waynesville Elementary School, turn the 1915 Building, a former school building pictured here, into a community center and improve parking and other infrastructure on the Wayne Local Schools’ complex off Dayton Road.
Passage of Issue 19 would repay debt on bonds issued to finance more than $26.5 million in funds used to build a new Waynesville Elementary School, turn the 1915 Building, a former school building pictured here, into a community center and improve parking and other infrastructure on the Wayne Local Schools’ complex off Dayton Road.

Voters in the Warren County portion of the Wayne Local School District passed a 4.68 mill, 37-year bond issue by seven votes in the Nov. 7 election, according to results tallied on Tuesday by the Warren County Board of Elections.

The 1,241-1,234 result still triggers a recount scheduled for next Tuesday in Lebanon, according to Brian Sleeth, director of the county election board.

RELATED: 2 vote margin in Wayne Local school issue

“We’re not going to feel 100 percent relaxed or confident until it’s been officially certified,” Superintendent Patt Dubbs said. “We’re ahead. That’s a good thing.”

On Wednesday, the Greene County Board of Elections is expected to certify the results on the Wayne Local issue in its portion of the district.

Greene County is also expected to recount, although there are fewer votes at issue.

Election night tallies were 1,226 to 1,225 in Warren County, 11 to 10 in the small piece of the district in Green County- leaving only a two-vote margin.

Tuesday’s final count widens the margin, with only a relatively small number of votes to be counted in Greene County.

MORE: Results in 8 closest area races in Nov. 7 election

Passage of Issue 19 would repay debt on bonds issued to finance more than $26.5 million in funds used to build a new Waynesville Elementary School, turn the 1915 Building, a former school building, into a community center and improve parking and other infrastructure on the Wayne Local Schools’ complex off Dayton Road.

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Recounts are also scheduled in races for Deerfield Twp. trustee and Franklin Board of Education.

The results tallied Tuesday showed Lonnie Vestal with 2,224 and Bill Lantry with 2,197 in the race for the seat on the Deerfield Twp. Board of Trustees.

And in a race for the Franklin school board, Bob Knipper was leading Dennis G. Dwyer, 1,371-1,363.

But in the race for Franklin City Council, Matt Wilcher edged Carl Bray, 850-838 and no recount will be held, Sleeth said.

Cheetahs nixed in zoo plans for Warren County, official says

Published: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 @ 10:07 AM


            Cincinnati Zoo cheetah running during a photo shoot for Natiional Geographic Magazine. FILE
Cincinnati Zoo cheetah running during a photo shoot for Natiional Geographic Magazine. FILE

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has set aside plans to move its cheetah recovery center to Warren County, but is moving forward with improvements to a farm and wetlands area already operating here, according to the county’s chief zoning official.

“They’re not going to build the cheetah breeding facility. That’s off the table,” Mike Yetter, zoning supervisor in Warren County said Tuesday.

RELATED: Zoo studying different location for cheetahs in Warren County

Yetter, who reviews plans for developments in unincorporated areas of Warren County, made these comments while sharing details of plans by the zoo to add and improve barns and make other improvements to the EcoFarm on Mason-Montgomery Road.

RELATED: Zoo, others developing between Cincinnati, Dayton

Zoo officials did not immediately respond to questions about the change of plans regarding the cheetah recovery center move from a facility east of Cincinnati in in Clermont County or improvements to the former Bowyer Farm property in Turtlecreek Twp., Warren County.

RELATED: Cheetah center in Warren County to offer close encounters

Plans for a new barn, a wall, a solar-powered pit toilet and other improvements are detailed in documents filed with zoning and building officials in Warren County.

In January, the zoo put on hold plans to move its cheetah facility from the Mast Farm in Clermont County to another farm at the corner of Nickel and Hamilton roads, while considering a different site.

The zoo questioned steps sought for safety by the county.

RELATED: Cheetah conservationists live in Warren County

The facility was to be built near the home of Cathryn Hilker, a cheetah conservationist who pioneered the zoo’s Cat Ambassador Program.

Why Montgomery County water, sewer customers will pay more

Published: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 8:51 AM
Updated: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 4:06 PM

Crews work on the Hillcrest sewer replacement project in Montgomery County. PROVIDED
PROVIDED
Crews work on the Hillcrest sewer replacement project in Montgomery County. PROVIDED(PROVIDED)

Water and sewer customers receiving service through Montgomery County will see their combined rate climb an average 14 percent in 2018 and go up 5.6 percent each year after through 2022, the county announced Thursday.

The increase is needed because of deteriorating infrastructure resulting in higher costs for maintenance and needed new construction with little foreseeable state or federal funding, officials said.

The average Montgomery County residential customer, now paying about $170, will see quarterly bills rise about $24 in 2018.

“It may appear to be a relatively large increase,” County Administrator Joe Tuss said. “But when you look at where we’ve been from an historic standpoint, it’s about catching up and generating the revenue we need to invest.”

MORE: Report claims Ohio one of worst states for water quality offenses

While Montgomery County purchases water pumped by the city of Dayton, the county maintains a distribution system of 1,400 miles of water mains as well as 1,200 miles of sewer line and two wastewater plants.

The system provides drinking water and fire prevention for about 250,000 residents. Most customers are in Centerville, Harrison Twp., Kettering, Miami Twp., Riverside, Trotwood and Washington Twp.

“Like many systems across the country, we have an aging system, and this rate increase is necessary to help us replace and maintain our water and sewer system,” said Tuss. “We had low or no rate increases for eight years, and we just can’t put this off any longer.”

Montgomery County rate increases have averaged about 2.5 percent since 2007, which is below the state average of 4 percent, according to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency data.

Officials estimate about $750 million will need to be spent over the next 20 years to maintain and replace aging portions of the system.

MORE: Are the drugs we’re taking — and flushing down the toilet — hurting our water?

A larger portion of a customer’s bill will be the fixed charge, going from 20 percent to 40 percent, while consumption charges move from 80 to 60 percent. The increased fixed charge will provide more stable, long-term financing needed to upgrade and maintain the system the county values at $3.1 billion, said Pat Turnbull, the county’s Environmental Services director.

Turnbull said the county is routinely experiencing 300 or more water main breaks a year — spending about $2 million annually to fix — on the system primarily installed 60-70 years ago.

“The water mains are breaking more frequently. The sewer lines are cracking more frequently,” he said. “We are just reaching that point — similar to the roof on your house — when you’re having to patch leaks all the time, you get to a place where it’s time to put a new roof on”

Officials say two large projects are required to ensure that tens of thousands of customers aren’t at risk of losing water or sewer service.

A $65-85 million replacement and upgrade of the main sewer line and pump station to the Western Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant is planned. The 40-year-old sewer line and pump station is the only sanitary service for more than 83,000 residential and business customers.

The county also plans an additional water feed that provides drinking water and fire protection for 150,000 customers in Centerville, Jefferson Twp., Kettering, Miami Twp., Moraine and Washington Twp. Cost of the project is estimated to be $76-118 million.

More: Greene County officials respond to water bill complaints

In addition to the loss of revenue because of decreasing water consumption, federal dollars that once paid for up to 90 percent of plant construction have gone away almost entirely, Turnbull said.

“Those grant dollars have gone away over the last couple of decades, and we do not see a replacement funding source on the horizon from the federal or state level,” he said. “So these dollars have to be generated locally primarily, and that would be in the form of rates.”

Montgomery County water rate presentations

Presentations will be made at regular township and city council meetings.

- Butler Twp., 7 p.m., Nov. 27

Township Hall, 3780 Little York Rd., Dayton, OH 45414

- Centerville, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 20

Municipal Building, 100 West Spring Valley Rd., Centerville, OH 45458

- Clayton, 7:30 p.m., Dec. 7

Government Center, 6996 Taywood Rd., Englewood, OH 45322

- Harrison Twp., Noon, Nov. 16

Township Offices, 5945 North Dixie Dr., Dayton, OH 45414

- Jefferson Twp., 7 p.m., Dec. 5

Administration Building, One Business Park Dr., Dayton, OH 45417

- Kettering, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 14

Government Center, 3600 Shroyer Rd., Dayton, OH 45429

- Miami Township, 6 p.m., Nov. 28

Township Offices, 2700 Lyons Rd., Miamisburg, OH 45342

- Moraine, 6 p.m., Dec. 14

Municipal Building, 4200 Dryden Rd., Moraine, OH 45439

- Trotwood, 6 p.m., Nov. 20

Trotwood-Madison City Schools Board of Education Meeting Chambers, 3594 N. Snyder Road, Trotwood, OH 45426

- Washington Twp., 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4

Township Offices, 8200 McEwen Road, Dayton, OH 45458

Find your new rate

If you receive water and sewer service from Montgomery County you can get more information as well as estimate your new quarterly bill using an online rate calculator at www.mcohio.org/water.

Ex-village worker sues state, claims malicious prosecution

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 3:20 PM
Updated: Sunday, November 12, 2017 @ 2:44 PM


            Ohio Auditor Dave Yost
Ohio Auditor Dave Yost

The former fiscal officer for New Madison is suing the Ohio Auditor of State, claiming malicious prosecution after theft-in-office charges against the former village accountant were dismissed.

Wanda Lacey on Oct. 25 filed a lawsuit against the state auditor’s office in which she accused the auditor’s office of seeking felony theft-in-office charges against her despite having insufficient evidence .

The lawsuit, filed in the Ohio Court of Claims, seeks unspecified damages exceeding $100,000.

Lacey was indicted by a grand jury in December 2016 on two counts of theft in office after the auditor’s office concluded that an audit found she stole more than $21,500 from the township. The charges were dropped in September 2017.

RELATED: Village fiscal officer ‘negligent’ but theft in office charges dropped

Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost said Friday that the case was dismissed without prejudice because new evidence was discovered.

“The state anticipates the case will be re-filed after the newly discovered evidence has been analyzed,” he said. “The claim of malicious prosecution is without merit and will fail. A grand jury considered the evidence and found probable cause to believe that the crimes had been committed by the person charged.”

Royce Link, Lacey’s attorney, said the auditor’s office investigator mistakenly determined the money as missing without doing due diligence to find it in the village’s books.

“Whether she was just overly zealous, new to the job and wanted to make an impression and get somebody, whether she actually did not like Wanda Lacey, whether somebody else who worked in the village told her some stuff that set her on fire against her, those are the types of reasons why a person would do that,” Link said when asked why the state auditor’s office would falsely accuse his client.

RELATED: Ex-New Madison village worker accused of stealing more than $20K while in office

The charges resulted in Lacey losing her job, suffering physically and mentally and damaging her reputation, he said.

“You get charged with theft in office as an accountant, that’s pretty much going to make it hard to get a job,” he said.

While the theft charges were dropped, a separate audit released Thursday included an administrative finding against Lacey for not paying village taxes on time, incurring $8,166 in fees. Lacey and her bonding company were jointly ordered to repay the money.

Yost issued a statement, along with the audit, saying Lacey’s “negligence” cost village taxpayers money.

Link said Yost’s comments were an attempt to “mitigate the exposure” from Lacey’s lawsuit.

MORE LOCAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE NEWS:

Local jails overcrowded, failing safety standards, investigation shows

Sheriffs fear state plan will flood jails with felons