G.Rapids council race gets heated
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 10:08
GRAND RAPIDS - Election season is in full swing in the village.
At Monday's council meeting, several members spoke publicly about recent election mailings put out by a group called "Village of Grand Rapids Citizens for Change." The group endorses four new candidates for village council, including Lynn Sylvain who is listed as treasurer of the group.
There are four seats up for grabs in the November election and seven candidates running. Two of the candidates, John Berry and Carolyn Erdody, are incumbents. The four candidates endorsed by "Citizens for Change" are Brian Habegger, Kevin Olman, Sylvain and Rick Tolles. The remaining candidate is William Hutchison, former mayor and council member.
Both Sylvain and Hutchison were in attendance at Monday's council meeting. Sylvain had requested to speak at the meeting via e-mail request to the mayor and through the visitor's log book, but was not given time to speak before council during the public participation segment.
Council member Sara Lewis said "Citizens for Change" has great ideas but "some of the information is misleading."
Lewis, as well as Erdody and council member Janet Borough all said they had received calls and e-mails from citizens with questions about the mailings.
Erdody said many of the inquires she received were from citizens concerned council was endorsing the four candidates listed on the "Citizens for Change" mailings.
"I explained that it has not been discussed in any council meetings to endorse any candidate so this should be duly noted in our minutes," Erdody wrote in a prepared statement.
At least two of the mailings have the village seal at the top of the text.
Erdody also expressed concern the mailings led citizens to believe only four candidates are running for the open seats. There are seven.
While four candidates are endorsed in the mailings, the second issue of one of the group's newsletters (dated Oct. 11) includes a paragraph that states there are "four positions, seven individuals running."
In that same paragraph, the newsletter states, "Those not listed in this newsletter have already been on the Council and served the community. We ask you to consider four new representatives with new perspectives."
Erdody, in her prepared statement, listed the experience of the three other candidates, Berry, Hutchison and herself, who are running for council.
Two current council members, Lewis and Curt Williams, will not seek re-election, despite their term's expiring at the year's end.
Both said they have plans of moving outside of the village in the near future.
The two council seats not up for grabs this election year are those occupied by Borough and Jeremy Treen. Their terms expire in 2015, according to the Wood County Board of Elections.
Also at Monday's council meeting, members:
• Agreed to move forward with the bidding process to make repairs to the water tower. The cost is expected to be $78,000 and is forecasted to extend the life of the water tower an additional 18 to 20 years. It was constructed in 1994.
• Approved an Eagle Scout project for Brandon Bailey to complete a welcome marquee for the village on Ohio 65.
• Voted down an agreement with a company to provide online utility billing. Members expressed concern over additional fees that had not been explained before in previous discussions with the company.