Mad River Twp. Trustees race to feature four candidates

They will challenge for 2 seats on board in Nov. 2 election.

Four candidates are vying for two seats on the Mad River Twp. Board of Trustees.

Mad River Twp. has three trustees who make decisions in regard to roads, waste disposal, emergency services, police protection, parks and revenue derived from property taxes.

All four candidates for the Nov. 2 election answered questionnaires submitted by the Springfield News-Sun.

Kathleen Baber

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Kathleen Baber

Kathleen Baber

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Kathleen Baber

Baber is a challenger looking to bring a “fresh voice” during this year’s race for a trustee seat.

The Greenon graduate entered into the public sphere to attend public meetings after an application from a development company to build a housing development on Stine Road came before the planning and rural zoning commissions. Baber and other township residents organized meetings and submitted a petition in regard to the rezoning in their community. A referendum challenging the rezoning is set to appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

“It was my privilege to work with some wonderful people on this issue,” she said. “I am proud to have given the township a voice in regards to the Stine Road Development.”

Baber attended Ohio Northern University and the University of Maryland. For five years, she has owned an online business where she makes stickers for calendars and page planners.

Baber has been an officer in the Band Boosters for three years for the Greenon Marching Knights, and she also has served as president of the Ladies Auxiliary and Youth Auxiliary at her church.

Baber said that if elected as trustee, she would work to build the township’s fire and EMS departments. She said the departments both need to recruit and retain talent, and offer competitive pay and a welcoming work environment.

“There has been a loss of trust between the board and the Fire and EMS Departments and I want to help restore that trust so all employees feel they are heard and their concerns are acted upon in a judicious manner,” she said.

Next, Baber said the township has unique opportunities to obtain federal funding " to accomplish projects that might otherwise be out of our reach.” She said she would prioritize qualifying for these funds, working with the township’s fiscal officer to comb through the budget to find qualifying items.

“As U.S. taxpayers we will be paying for the ARP expenditures for a long time,” she said. “Let’s make sure our community benefits as much as we can.”

Baber said she would also encourage community engagement through “actively communicating with the township via social media, email and broadcasting.” She said that she would encourage the use of email services that allow for the distribution of news bulletins and reminders in order to reach audiences that don’t have social media accounts.

“There are many inexpensive or free services we could use to help the community be better informed about the projects and challenges the township faces,” Baber said.

Communication is a top priority of Baber: she would prioritize talking to township residents and community leaders, as well as past board members, to gather information.

“I want to know the concerns, what has occurred, what is currently happening and what solutions have been proposed,” she said.

Robert W. McClure

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Robert W. McClure

Robert W. McClure

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Robert W. McClure

McClure is seeking a term as trustee.

McClure graduated from Greenon High School and attended college at Wright State University and Ohio State University.

McClure has been employed by the Clark County Engineer for 22 years. His duties consist of performing project management and inspection of road improvement and bridge rehabilitation or replacement projects, serving as an advisor to all 10 townships on improving road quality, budgeting road projects and improving drainage, surveying and designing all drainage improvement projects along county-maintained roadways, overseeing all roadside work and public utility installation along the county roads and serves as a go-between for the county engineer and owners of land in the ditch maintenance program.

“I believe I have the knowledge and experience needed to make informed and necessary decisions concerning our aging roads and infrastructure, as well as challenges facing the EMS,” McClure said.

McClure said if elected, he would work to improve the maintenance of township roadways, to improve staffing issues with the emergency services and to earn the trust of the community.

If elected, he said he would pursue multiple projects: continuing the improvement of roads in older neighborhoods like Parkridge Acres, Holiday Valley, and Echo Hills, for example.

He said he would also work with other trustees to improve the emergency response and to “ensure the most qualified individuals are hired.”

Jeremy E. Whitacre

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Jeremy Whitacre

Jeremy Whitacre

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Jeremy Whitacre

Jeremy E. Whitacre, a lifelong Mad River Twp. resident, served on the village of Enon’s council and wants to transition into a trustee role.

“It has been an honor serving as a councilman for the village of Enon the past six years, while I thoroughly enjoy serving on this board I thought it was time to take on a new challenge,” he said.

Whitacre has a Bachelor’s of Science in business management from Park University. He is the chief of finance in the 88th Civil Engineer Group, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. When he’s not working, he is involved with Greenon Youth Football and Cheer and the Enon Little League.

If elected, Whitacre said he would focus on building the Fire/EMS department.

He said the township’s fire and EMS department needs to attract “dedicated and qualified candidates.” In order to do this, the township needs to establish competitive wages, as well as provide training opportunities and up-to-date equipment to its members, Whitacre said.

“The station needs to be a place where the personnel are excited and proud to show up to as it was when I was a member some 15 years ago,” he said.

Second, he would prioritize the maintenance of main township roadways while also giving attention to areas that have not had recent updates, if the budget allows, he said.

“I feel our current trustees have done a good job with our roadways and I hope to continue that trend,” he said.

Bringing transparency to township residents is also a priority of Whitacre, particularly in terms of how tax dollars are spent by the township.

“I would like to see us giving snapshots of our budget/expenditures that are allowed to be shared on a scheduled basis, whether it be through printing extra copies for meeting attendees or posting it on the township website,” he said.

Jay Young

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Jay Young.

Jay Young.

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Jay Young.

For Jay Young, who was appointed to a trustee seat in March 2020 to fill the vacancy left by former Trustee Joe Catanzaro, communication is key.

“I believe a trustee is a representative of the township and should be available to hear residents’ concerns and opinions and to communicate effectively,”

Young is a lifelong Mad River Twp. resident who is an owner and manager of Young’s Jersey Dairy, his family’s business.

Young is a 1988 graduate of Greenon High School. He has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University.

Young is seeking to continue his role as trustee, he said, because he has been a volunteer in many aspects in his life and he wants to serve his community as trustee. Young has been involved in many community organizations, including the Enon softball board, Clark County Farm Bureau Board and the Clark County Fair Board. He is also a volunteer of Hustead Fire Department, and he has volunteered as a coach for youth sports for many years.

If elected to his seat, Young said his primary concern for the township will be “to remain fiscally responsible” pointing to the increases in cost for machinery.

“We need to focus on budgets and work with the fiscal officer to make sure our spending is staying within our means,” he said.

He also would focus on the staffing of the EMS and fire department in the township.

“With the current labor shortage throughout our country of emergency personnel, I believe we need to start pushing toward employing more full-time EMS personnel for our department,” he said. “While an increase in taxes is not always a favorable choice, I feel this is necessary in order to hire 6-7 full-time staff for the betterment of our community.”

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