Many trustee posts up for grabs Nov. 7
Several township trustee seats are contested in Seneca County in the Nov. 7 election.
Races in Clinton, Eden, Jackson, Loudon, Pleasant, Reed and Scipio townships will be on the ballot. Each race will have two winners who will begin four-year terms next year.
Incumbents Jim Distel and Dennis Moyer are being challenged by Dennis Kingseed.
Distel, who has been a trustee for 12 years, said he graduated from the Ohio Township Association Leadership Academy.
“I have worked with the public for 30-plus years and have been on many committees,” he said. “I’m familiar with working with other township officials, city officials and county officials in joint efforts to make Seneca County better.”
Distel said he hopes to continue to maintain township ditches to be the best in the area.
“(I hope to) secure grants, helping to stretch township funds and reduce expense to our residents (and) help grow our volunteer fire department and maintain the best equipment possible to aid in their efforts,” he said.
Moyer said he has been a trustee for about 20 years and was on the fire department for 39 years and still is an auxiliary member of the department.
He said he has experience helping with the budget each year and helping with road maintenance. He stressed the importance of saving money for residents.
“I hope we can find more funding for stuff, like roads,” Moyer said. “It’s getting kind of tough out there with budget cuts. We’ve been applying for grants. I usually do a lot of legwork for that stuff.”
Kingseed said if he is elected, he’d like to discuss acquiring a new equipment truck for the fire department.
“The one we have is an older truck,” he said. “A new truck would be beneficial for the department. There are over 300 ambulance calls for our township each year and the equipment truck goes to all of them.”
Kingseed said he also would like to see ditches moved back.
“Years ago, roads were 8-10 feet wide. Today, roads are 16-18 feet wide,” he said. “I feel that road safety is important. There are a lot of ditches that are too close to the road.”
Trustee Verne Shellhouse is facing opposition from Christopher Fry, Bill Wise and David Ziegler.
Shellhouse was first elected in November 1982 and has served since then. He also said he served on the Farm Bureau Board for about six years.
He said his priority will be to continue to make the township as safe as possible.
“We’ve been widening roads out, widening our berms,” he said. “We need to keep correcting safety issues and make it safe for people in the township, just like we’ve been doing.”
Shellhouse said he hopes to receive votes from residents.
“My record speaks for itself for the last 35 years,” he said. “My door has always been open, you can call me any time you want. Any problems and we strive to get them fixed as quick as possible.”
Ziegler said he would like to be the a voice for residents that will promote improvements, fiscal responsibility and common-sense decisions.
“When elected, I promise (all residents) I will be an active, working trustee and provide the responsibility and common sense all the residents of Eden Township deserve,” he said.
Ziegler said he has three years of experience plowing snow for Ohio Department of Transportation. He also said he has 30 years of agricultural experience.
He said he will use his experience to “help cut costs, make improvements and provide safer roads to travel in our township.”
Wise, who was appointed as a trustee in 2013 and served through 2016, said his top issue is to work with state government officials and Seneca County Board of Commissioners to reduce land taxes for farmers.
“It’s not fair when farmers have to pay more than their share,” he said.
Wise said maintaining roads and keeping them safe is important, but he said he wants to dig deeper into other issues.
He also said it is important to continue to widen roads because farming equipment and vehicles are becoming heavier.
“I don’t like to use the word ‘I’,” Wise said. “‘I’ isn’t in team. You have to work with the two other trustees. (I’m not running) for individual glory.”
Wise said he will be a trustee of actions, not of words. He said a group of supporters bought his yard signs for him because they believe in him.
“I get things done,” he said.
Fry said this election is the first time he has run for office.
“I just want to help out,” he said on his decision to run.
Fry said he has worked at Sycamore Telephone Company for more than 20 years and has dealt with government officials and area residents.
Fry said he wasn’t sure what his top priorities would be if he gets elected.
“I don’t know if you really know until you get in there,” he said. “Each year there will be different problems that come in. I’d like to listen to what the people of Eden Township want and do what’s best for the majority.”
Fry said his experience working directly with customers at Sycamore Telephone and his experience operating equipment will make him a good trustee.
“I think i’ll be able to bring something along to contribute,” he said.
Incumbents Richard Findley and Stephen Naderer are joined by Dottie Colbert in pursuit of two open seats.
Naderer said he has served for about eight years as a trustee and was Jackson Township road superintendent for more than 30 years.
“I do have a (commercial driver’s license) and am quite familiar with all the township’s equipment and how to run it,” he said.
Naderer said his main focus is on keeping roads in good condition.
“We spend most of our budget on roads, not only to pave them, but also to maintain them, plow them and allow for safe passage,” he said. “Over the last decade, we’ve certainly made some headway. The overall condition of our roads are better now than they were 10 years ago. That’s one thing I’d like to continue, to improve our roads.”
Colbert, who has spent 10 years on the Jackson Township Zoning Board, including the last three as chair, said she hopes to communicate with township residents by providing a township newsletter sent once a month from trustees.
“I also plan to make trash day more convenient to all township residents, especially the elderly and handicapped. As you may know, this has not been a priority or concern of our present trustees,” she said. “Our township roads need to be mowed more than once a month, which has been the practice for many years.”
Colbert said she’d be accessible by phone, email and text and she said she always is open to suggestions and concerns to improve the township.
Richard Findley, who has served as a trustee for 20 years, said his father also served as a trustee for 28.
“We kind of know the ins and outs (of the area),” he said. “I feel our main responsibility is to determine which roads need repaired with the small budget we have. Our budget is getting smaller and smaller, we’ve lost local funds.”
Findley said trustees must work to keep roads passable in inclement weather and also work to improve the joint ambulance district between Jackson Township, Liberty Township and Bettsville.
“I’d like to see this EMS district grow. We’re having trouble getting volunteers with fire and EMS,” he said. “My goal would be a countywide EMS district. For the short term, I’d like to see this EMS district get on its feed.”
Trustees Jason Painter and Kevin Reinhart will try for re-election against Andrew Brose.
Painter said he has been a trustee for about four years. He also serves on the Seneca Regional Planning Commission board.
His major focus, if elected, would be to maintain roads and keep them as safe as possible.
“(I want) to be there for residents and do my duties as a trustee,” Painter said. “I like to give back to our community, I like to be part of the community and I like to be involved to help the residents to the best of my ability.”
Brose said he would keep an open line of communication with township residents and employees.
“Hearing their concerns is a priority, as well as making sure they are informed on what is happening within the township,” he said.
Brose said he also hopes to ensure safety by providing quality roads and drainage along with establishing a productive and supportive relationship with fire and EMS services.
“I value giving them and the employees of the township the support they need to provide a high-quality service,” he said.
Reinhart, who has been a trustee for 22 years, said his top priority for another term would be to continue providing EMS and fire protection services.
“We are current fortunate enough to have been able to place a fire sub-station in the township and we need to keep working to have full staffing for our EMS and fire coverage,” he said. “We are also very fortunate to have the financial stability to keep our roads cared for, our equipment replaced on schedule and our buildings maintained.”
He said he will make it a priority to be a good steward of township finances so the aforementioned programs can continue.
Incumbents William Biller and David Kingsborough are running against Old Fort Volunteer Fire Department Chief Craig Mellott.
Biller said if he is elected, it would be his third term as a trustee.
“I’ve been a lifelong resident. I plowed snow back in the 1980s. I know the roads and know the area,” he said. “I want to continue maintaining (the area) the best we can with the available funds.”
Biller said decisions are going to have to be made on EMS services, but he believes the township has good roads and good equipment.
“I want to keep them that way,” he said, “just maintain what we’ve got.”
Mellott, who said he has been with the fire department for 40 years and has been chief the past 28 years, said he thinks trustees should be more transparent.
“If I get in there, I want to examine the transparency for every taxpayer,” he said, adding that residents deserve to know what they are getting for their tax dollars.
He also said trustees need to clean up blighted areas and find a better solution for emergency medical services. The township contracts with North Central EMS for ambulance service.
Mellott said if he is elected, he will have to step down as fire chief.
“It’s not that I want to give it up, but I can’t be both,” he said. “I definitely can still be a fireman and an EMT and I’ll be very active. I’ll still be there to help the community. That was what I was taught and trained.”
Kingsborough did not respond to a request for comment.
Trustees Gerald Miller and David Wright are campaigning for re-election against Korey Newell and Raymond Roth.
Miller said he’s been a trustee for about eight years.
“I’ve always lived in the area, I’m familiar with the drainage in the area,” he said.
Miller said there are some roads that flood and he’d like to open up some drainage ditches to stop that.
“We’re pretty stable, everything is pretty good,” he said, adding that voters should vote for him because he has experience and knowledge of the area.
Newell said the township has made substantial improvements in recent years.
“I would like to continue the momentum,” he said. “Transparency among the township and the residents is a key component in this progression.
Wright and Roth did not respond to requests for comment.
Incumbent Bradley Bowerman faces Dale Laibe and Matthew Potts.
None of the three responded to requests for comment.