Four vie for Lake Twp. trustee seats

MILLBURY – The incumbent Lake Township trustees say they are doing a great job in difficult times and
want to continue serving. But two challengers believe more attention to parks and the fire department is
needed.
"With the economic issues going on right now I think there should be some stability in the Lake
government. You need some experience running the government in these tough economic times," said
Richard Welling, who has been a trustee for 12 years and is seeking a fourth term.
He credits the current board of trustees with being fiscally responsible.
"We’re probably one of the few jurisdictions that’s not laying people off and facing budget
cuts."
In his 12 years in office, Welling cites several accomplishments: updating the cemetery rules, helping to
create two new parks and a fire station, and getting a traffic light at Ohio 795 and Cummings Road –
"all without increasing taxes."
Incumbent Ron Sims agreed that the current board works well together and should stay together.
"For one thing, I think it’s vital now, with the way the economy is, to keep the township within a
budget," said Sims, who is seeking a third term. He also served seven years before as trustee and
spent 10 years as a Millbury councilman.
His children have followed him into public service. His daughter is a first-grade teacher in Pemberville
and his sons serve on the township police and fire departments. Sims, who is 61, noted that his sons
were hired when he wasn’t on the board.
To better know police and fire operations, he graduated from a citizens police academy and got certified
as a volunteer firefighter. "It’s the same way as my business, I can’t sell it if I don’t know
about it."
Other accomplishments Sims cited include buying six used sport utility vehicles for the police
department, which he considers a wise investment, and having a student resource officer for Lake
schools.
Sims, who has lived in the township for 54 years, said his 45 years in commercials sales and service
helps him makes good decisions as a trustee.
As owner of Suburban Motors in the township for 20 years, Mike Evanoff wants to bring his business
experience to the trustee job.
"I feel a local business person knows firsthand knows how to keep a business going," he said.
"Let’s face it, it’s very difficult out there."
Evanoff has been attending most of the trustee meetings for the last five years.
"It just attracts me. I like to be aware of what’s going on. I see things that could stand a little
adjustment and that’s why I’ve thrown my hat in the ring."
One of those things is the fire department. "There are issues on the fire department that have to be
addressed. … I’ve had meetings with the fire department and they’ve vented on me their concerns and
they’re all valid," Evanoff said. "I guess it’s like opening a window, you let fresh air in
and that’s what they want."
If elected, he said he will be a big supporter of police and fire operations. He will also do his best to
deal with problems immediately and truthfully.
"If someone asks me a question, I don’t beat around the bush," said Evanoff, who is 62, married
to Joneida and has lived in the township for 31 years. "The most thing’s honesty, be right up front
with people."
Jeff Pettit is another business owner running for a trustee position. He has owned Artistic Memorials in
Perrysburg for eight years and loves his job.
"There’s so many things today that you buy that are throwaway. But the monuments we make, they’re
going to be here forever," said Pettit, who is 44 and a lifelong township resident. "Even
though it’s dealing with death, I find pleasure in helping somebody tell a story about their loved
one."
He’s involved in the community as a member of toastmasters and Kiwanis, and a volunteer for mobile meals.
Pettit said the township could benefit from his business and civic experience.
"I think we need to make a little more emphasis on our parks," he said, noting that hundreds of
kids play soccer at Fireside Park, but there aren’t any permanent restrooms or a concession stand.
"That’s one of things I would like to pursue," said Pettit, who has two children with his
wife, Tena.
He also questions why the trustees in August purchased the former Ohio Highway Patrol building for
$40,000. It will be used for emergency operations and includes a 100-foot tower and generator.
"Did we really need that and maybe that money could have been put toward the parks?" Pettit
said.