Two candidates are running for mayor of the Village of Blanchester. Below is the News Journal profile response from the candidates.
I am a Clinton County native, born and raised in Blanchester. A 1976 graduate of Blanchester High School, I served in the United States Army from 1976-1983 and the Army Reserves from 1983-1985. I have been married to my wife Marie 42+ years; we have two beautiful daughters, and five wonderful grandchildren. I have lived at my current residence since 1993. In 2010 I applied to fill a vacancy on village council and was appointed unanimously by the sitting council members. I was elected to village council in 2014. While on council I was appointed vice mayor in 2013 and 2014.
I assumed the role of mayor in 2014 and was elected mayor in 2016. As mayor I have actively worked to find ways to improve and bring growth to our village. As mayor I believe it’s important we work to balance our budget and stay fiscally responsibile. This has been one of the biggest challenges since we have continued to see our revenue stream shrink by nearly 45% since 2010.
While mayor we have made many applications for grant funds in our effort to make improvements to our village. While we haven’t been successful 100% of the time, we have received over $1,186,000 in grant funds from OWPC, ODNR, and CDBG.
I continue to work with all departments and council to look for ways to increase our revenue in an effort to maintain our services and improve our infrastructure. This continues to become more and more difficult given that we have not been successful in passing an earnings tax — a tax that would only affect those who work in Blanchester, about 7% of the residents.
I want to continue to move Blanchester forward; I, like most of the residents of Blanchester, have a vested interest in our village. I want Blanchester to be a place where people and families come to live, work and put down roots. I don’t want Blanchester to be the town people drive through to get somewhere else.
We need strong leadership and I believe I can provide that with the help of council. I am willing to listen to what others have to say, open to new ideas and suggestions if we can bring growth and improve the quality of life for our residents.
There is no I in Team: Together We Accomplish More.
I want to be the taxpayers’ watchdog for the village of Blanchester. I have lived in Blanchester for four years. I have attended most meetings; our current mayor work a full-time job and does not have the time needed to help our dying village move in the right direction
Irresponsible decision-making “example”: The budget is due by July 15th; no public hearings nor meetings have been held to discuss and receive input from the residents. Blanchester government is without accountability — over $1 million of electric funds have been used for sewer and water departments in the past and over $1 million in the proposed 2020 budget for the electric department for salaries and benefits
Free electric, sewer,and water to the library and fire department. Safety concerns are not addressed, exit signs not working, no exit signs in meeting rooms, reported last November. Elevator not working for months, claiming no money to for repairs, but yet a council member and BPA board members traveled to Washington, D.C. for three days living high on the hog with electric funds — year-to-date $6,634.
I have been the outsider looking in and reporting issues to the mayor with no results. Our government is broken and failing our citizens, mismanagement of funds and lacking transparency, and violating our freedom of speech at council meetings. This must change.
Blanchester claims we are broke — far from the truth.We cannot afford more of the same people and same ideas with no solutions
The village can maintain the current real estate rate and no income tax by ending wasteful spending and eliminating unneeded positions in the Board of Public Affairs. Transfer surplus funds from the solid waste fund to help with the cost of funding our police department.
It is past time to address the issues that impact our village. I want to form a citizen review and oversight Committee. I will listen to your concerns. New leadership is needed. I am your only choice; I will work full-time to make positive changes and work to rid the good old boys’ way of doing business.