An incumbent and a challenger are set to face off this November for a Mad River Twp. trustee seat.
Longtime incumbent Kathy Estep has filed for re-election and is running against challenger Todd Pettit. Voters will make their choice on Nov. 5.
Polls will open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. The trustee is the owner of one of three votes that makes final decisions regarding township personnel and resources.
Multiple messages left by the Springfield News-Sun for Pettit were not returned over the last couple weeks. Estep said she decided to run again because she wants to continue to serve the community.
“It’s been a busy year but I really do love my township,” Estep said. “We got a lot going on and I feel like I have a lot to offer.”
Estep said she has three major concerns she wants to continue to address as trustee. The first one being the fire department.
In recent months the Mad River Twp. Fire and EMS station has come under intense scrutiny after it was discovered by this news organization that a former fire lieutenant had previously been accused of sexual misconduct.
The discovery led the trustee to hire an outside consulting firm to conduct an investigation into the hiring of the lieutenant. The investigation ultimately found no wrongdoing on the part of the department leadership. As a result, 12 experienced firehouse employees resigned at a trustee meeting.
Estep said she wants to help rebuild trust between the community and the fire department.
“I want to continue to work and support and strengthen that department,” she said. “I feel we have a good department but we had some changes and I want to make sure we continue to improve and I do think we are on the right track.”
Estep also said she wants to improve the township’s roads, noting she has worked hard to get grants for street projects.
“I’ve been successful getting $1.5 million in grants as a trustee and I want to continue to work in that area to make our money go further,” Estep said.
She said recently the township won a grant with Clark County to repave Fowler Road. The overall cost of the project is projected to be more than $400,000, but because of the grant, the township plans to cut that in half.
“If we couldn’t get theses grants we’d be really hurting,” she said.
Finally, Estep said she wants to continue to fight Enon Sand and Gravel and prevent their mining plans. The business wants to mine about 60 feet deeper on parts of its nearly 400-acre property near Hustead and South Tecumseh roads and Rebert Pike. But residents living near the property have opposed the project, raising concerns it could damage their property values or wells in the area.
“Even though we don’t directly get to make decisions in that case, we can speak with the residents and speak on behalf of the residents,” she said. “I have met very few people in favor of having an expanded limestone quarry operation here. This is an issue that is very important to all of us.”