|3 vie for Perrysburg Twp. seats|
|Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 24 October 2013 10:24|
Two incumbents and one repeat challenger are seeking two seats on the Perrysburg Township Board of Trustees.
A lifelong resident, Trustee Gary Britten wants to add to his family's line of service by continuing for a third term. His father and grandfather were also members of the board.
"It's always been in my blood," he said.
Britten said the current administration has worked well together, and listed as accomplishments the establishment of the township's comprehensive plan, as well as efforts to revise the zoning regulations.
The plan was important, he said, because it was compiled after a series of meetings where residents expressed how they wanted to see the township move forward. One of the biggest requests was more recreation opportunities, so trustees voted to raze the former Lime City School and moved the shelter house there with hopes of establishing some sort of walking path or park there.
Britten, who first joined the township in the maintenance department more than 30 years ago, said he's also fought to preserve as much land for agricultural use as possible.
"At one point in time, the township was mostly agricultural. Even when I started in 1980, there were not a whole lot of subdivisions," Britten said. "Agriculture is the foundation of any community. It's always been very strong in Perrysburg Township, and the trustees want to make sure it stays that way."
Britten, who now works as superintendent of the Wood County highway garage in Bowling Green, said he expects zoning to be an ongoing issue in the township. Instituting regulations in unzoned areas haven't been popular in the past, but he hopes that problems with a requested surface mining permit for Wylie and Sons LLC may have shown residents that zoning regulations can be a source of help rather than harm.
Without zoning, landowners have few restrictions placed on use of their property. But so do others.
"It's being a good neighbor, and it's helping the neighborhood prosper by doing it right," Britten said of the regulations. "Sometimes zoning is the only way."SClBTrustee Bob Mack echoed Britten's praise of the comprehensive plan, calling it a "road map" to ensure that development of the township continues as it should, reserving certain areas for business and industry and others for residential and agricultural use.
Mack said he values the progress the township has made under the current board and hopes to continue for his fourth term. He said the board works well with administrators and has assembled an excellent group of department heads.
"I feel strongly we have a superb team put together," he said.
"We each come from different backgrounds and bring very different perspectives. But at the same time, we understand that we need to work together, and we always ask ourselves, 'what's optimal for the residents of Perrysburg Township?'"
When he was elected in 2001, Mack saw an organization that was in tough financial straits and "did not use technology as it should be used in government," he said.
Twelve years later, finances have improved and the township possesses a website that draws praise from other governmental agencies and allows residents more access to township business, Mack said.
In a fourth term, Mack said he hopes to achieve more equalized water and sewer rates for residents. He's been working with Perrysburg and other municipalities as well as Northwestern Water and Sewer District to lobby for fair rates, as some areas were subject to higher fees when they faced annexation into Perrysburg. Now that annexation is no longer a threat to certain areas, the rates should be lowered, he said.
Mack, who works in commercial real estate sales and leasing, said his 12 years of experience facilitating township matters, as well as his relationship with county and state leaders, would continue to serve residents well.
"Often times when things need to happen at the local level, we require cooperation and assistance from higher levels of government," he said. "Having a good working relationship with those individuals has been very helpful and has benefitted Perrysburg Township."
Challenging Mack and Britten is Lynn Hunter, who would inject new blood into the board for the first time since Britten took office in 2006.
Hunter claims the township is being mismanaged under the current trustees' leadership, with financial decisions she's disagreed with including the hiring of Rosanna Violi, the assistant to Township Administrator Walt Celley.
Hunter said those two full-time positions were previously done by one part-time worker. She also disagrees with using outside legal counsel while Celley, an attorney, is already on the payroll.
"It's everybody's money, and it needs to be more scrutinized."
Hunter said she would focus less on developing the township and more on listening to where current residents would like to see the township go. She said there has been too large an influx of subdivisions and condominiums, and there are also too many businesses constructing new buildings along U.S. 20 where there are still plenty of vacant properties.
Hunter said over-development has led to congestion, something some residents moved to Perrysburg Township to avoid.
"Township residents need to be heard for a change," she said.
"They don't want this identity."
Hunter, who works as a school intervention specialist, earned the support of just shy of 44 percent of voters when she ran against Trustee Craig LaHote in 2011.
She said she has no personal agenda, and the only reason she's running is to "make the township a great place to live."
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