SPRINGFIELD AND PERRY TOWNSHIPS -- Voters in Springfield and Perry townships will vote for trustees on the Nov. 2 ballot, with incumbents seeking reelection and newcomers challenging for a spot.
A township's board of trustees is responsible for managing the township's budget and maintaining its zoning laws, roads, ditches and cemeteries.
Some larger townships, like Springfield, provide fire and EMS services to residents.
There are four candidates running for two seats on the Springfield Township board of trustees. According to Anita Kochheiser, the township fiscal officer, trustees will make $18,580 in 2022. They are also eligible for health insurance through the township.
Trustee salaries are set by Ohio statute and vary based on the township's budget. Trustees are supposed to work 200 days, Kochheiser said, though there is no requirement for the number of hours.
Don Daugherty, 66, said he is running for township trustee because he wants to see change in the way the township operates.
Daugherty stated that during his years of attending board of trustee meetings, he has seen mismanagement that upsets taxpayers and costs them money.
He said he wants to bring more transparency to the board.
"I am tired of all the closed-door sessions that continue to happen and I want to be part of a township that is looked upon, not looked down on," he said.
"If I am elected there will be an openness to the residents and employees of Springfield Township unlike what is currently the case," Daugherty said.
Daugherty is a graduate of Ashland High School. He started his own excavating company in 1978 and worked there as a heavy equipment operator, mechanic, estimator and business manager until 2007. He also owned a gravel pit from 1996 to 2011.
In 2011, he completed fire and EMS training and was hired by the Springfield Township Fire Department. He currently works as a fireman and mechanic for the department, but would give up that job if elected.
Daugherty hopes he can bring high quality leadership and decision making to the role. He also hopes to address the challenges that come from the City of Ontario's growth.
"Ontario is growing and that growth is becoming taxing on the fire department call volume," he said. "Along with that growth, the township is not seeing additional revenue from Ontario. So this is putting the added cost onto the residents of Springfield."
Daugherty said he wants to pursue other sources of income like grants to increase the manpower in the fire and road departments.
Paul Gleisinger, 63, is seeking a second term on the Springfield Township board of trustees.
"I am running for re-election so that I may utilize my past and present experience to serve the community in which my family has been a part of for over four generations," he said. "I am committed to keeping the area safe and an affordable place to live and raise a family.
Gleisinger has nearly 30 years of experience working as a department head for the City of Ontario. He currently works as the sewer supervisor and project manager for the City of Ontario.
In that role he has supervised personnel, submitted budgets, used purchased contracts, maintained roads, performed storm water management and addressed citizen complaints.
Gleisinger said he believes that obtaining alternative funding is an important opportunity for Springfield Township.
"We plan on maximizing our investment with alternative funding over the next four years," he said. "This will come from grants, American Relief Funds, agreements with local hospitals and other townships. No new taxes will be needed, only renewals."
Gleisinger stated that over the last four years, the board has saved taxpayers an estimated more than $1 million in cost savings -- including health care costs, COVID relief funds, grants and agreements with local hospitals and other townships.
Brad Orewiler, 67, is a third generation Springfield Township Trustee. He’s seeking reelection for a third term this November.
Orewiler graduated from Ontario High School and completed same classes in Muskegon Community College. He has also attended several classes at the Ohio Trustee Association Conference dealing with budget and zoning issues.
"I would like the voters of Ontario and Springfield Township to know that I've worked hard to save our taxpayers $445,000 in the past 8 years," Orewiler said. "Every decision I make for the township is with the citizens in mind. I am now retired and can give all the time that this job requires of me."
Orewiler's priorities are budgeting and spending wisely. He said it’s important not to raise taxes, but he hopes to look for alternate revenue sources like state and federal grants.
Orewiler has over 31 years of management experience and has worked in road construction and drainage. He spent the operations manager of a large retailer for six years. He declined to name the store, but said it tended to gross around $5 million per year.
He also worked in construction and has a commercial driver’s license, meaning he can step in and help the road crew should an emergency arise.
Orewiler has been a trustee in Springfield Township for eight years. He said he chose to run again because he thinks his experience makes him a good fit for the job, but also because of the exciting things happening in the township.
“I can see a lot of things happening and it's all good for the taxpayers and the residents,” he said.
If he retains his seat, Orewiler said one of his primary goals is to work with the City of Ontario to secure additional funding for the Springfield Township Fire Department.
The department serves both the township and the city. Most of its funding comes from property tax levies paid by city and township residents.
However, Orewiler believes that the township is losing out on essential revenue from new businesses that receive tax abatements from the city.
“There has to be some kind of financial help from the city of Ontario because 78 to 80 percent of our total runs go to the city,” he said.
Orewiler stated that when new businesses move in, the need for services from the fire department goes up as a result. This is because there is more activity, a greater concentration of people in one location and possibly even new workers moving into the area. Most of the department's runs are EMT squad runs.
Orewiler said the township is in good financial shape now, but the lost revenue from abatements could become a problem in the future.
“We need to get more income so we don’t have to ask our township residents for more income to run the fire department,” he said. “The money won’t continue to last like that.”
Orewiler said he also wants to look at adding additional staffing to the fire department.
Orewiler said he’s proud of the way the township’s road and fire departments are operating. He strongly supports the work done by Springfield Township Fire Chief Matthew Carey.
“I was part of the trustee field to hire a new fire chief,” he said. “He’s doing a fantastic job. He’ll take a dime and turn it into a dollar.”
“He’s very good at finding grants. He’s gotten a lot of money for us.”
One of those grants helped the department upgrade its radios to a state-of-the-art Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS), which allows members of the department to better communicate with the station, local hospitals and other first responders.
Terry L. Thompson
Terry Thompson, 66, is running for township trustee because he wants to give back to the community. He is a 30-year resident of the township.
Thompson attended Mansfield Business College and has taken various courses in sales, management and leadership during his career. He has spent 40 years working for a Republic Services (formerly BFI and Allied Waste), where he currently serves as general manager. He was also the co-owner of Play It Again Sports.
After working with government officials in various townships, villages and cities, Thompson decided to explore the idea of running for office two years ago. He began taking training courses through the Ohio Township Association.
"I went through the leadership training to prepare myself and see if this is something I wanted to do or not," he said.
After taking twelve OTA courses over the past two years, Thompson said he feels ready for the role of trustee.
"I have prepared myself for this," he said. "This is not a place for on-the-job training."
Thompson said that fiscal responsibility is his first priority, but he also hopes to address the turnover occurring at the Springfield Township Fire Department.
"We've got fire and road department employees that just are not getting the leadership that I think the township should be providing," Thompson said. "There's no pathway to better positions, there's no understanding about what it takes to qualify them for the next spot."
Thompson said he worries that if turnover continues at the same rate, it will begin to affect the quality of service that the township provides.
There are three candidates running for two seats on the Perry Township board of trustees.
Trustees' wages are governed by the Ohio Revised Code and based of the size of the townships budget. Perry Township Trustees make $11,948.00 per year.
Gabe McKenna, 41, is a graduate of Lexington High School. He attended college for two years before joining the military. He served in the Air Force and Army for eight years. His service included time in Iraq.
McKenna is the owner of Stallion High Performance, a diesel mechanic business. He has run the business full-time for about nine years.
He is running for trustee because he doesn’t like the way the township is being run.
“I use a common sense approach to everything,” McKenna said. “Basically I'm running for (township residents). I don't need to run. I'm not a political person, but I see the way things are going and we need change."
McKenna would like to reexamine the township’s zoning laws, but believes public input is necessary before making any changes.
“I think it needs to be easier for people to improve upon their property without having to go through so many regulations,” he said.
His other priorities are running the township efficiently, making sure that the roads are taken care of and the mowing is done. He hopes to oversee better maintenance of the township's equipment. McKenna claims that the township did not adequately handle some of its mowing last year due to broken equipment.
“There's a lot of little improvements that go along way and one of the big things to me is maintenance," he said. “If you don’t keep things maintained, they break and then they cost money.”
He also stated that he would be willing to help plow roads and mow township property if necessary.
Matthew P. Mott
Matthew P. Mott, 47, currently serving his first term as a Perry Township trustee. He and his family have lived in the township for the past 14 years.
"I am running for trustee again because I believe it is important to keep the township maintained where residents are safe on the roads and safe in their homes and on their property," he said. "I also believe it is important to continue with zoning for Perry Township to keep it peaceful and beautiful for all who live and want to live here."
Mott graduated from Shelby Senior High School. He earned his bachelor's in criminal justice from Ashland University. He has worked for 12 years at Foundations of Living, a mental health residential facility. He currently serves as the director of business development.
Mott began his career as a juvenile probation officer with the Richland County Juvenile Court. He spent a short period of time as a police officer, then became a state parole officer. Later he worked as an investigator for Richland County Children Services. Prior to working at Foundations of Living, he worked as the intake administrator for Ashland County Department of Job and Family Services.
"Most of my professional background has been in public service," Mott said. "Much of my career I have been in an administrative role taking on the responsibilities of supervision, budgeting, and maintaining a stable operating system for others. I believe my experience has given me a solid foundation to maintain and operate a township like Perry."
If re-elected, Mott's goals are to maintain strong financial stability for the residents of Perry Township and maintain equipment for more efficient road maintenance. He also hopes to work closely with the township's zoning boards and inspector to streamline and improve regulations and make development more accessible. Lastly, he hopes to improve communication with township residents.
In an email to Richland Source, Mott listed multiple accomplishments the board of trustees has made over the past four years, including
Replacing an old and worn-out dump truck that was costing the township unneeded expenses in repairs.
Refurbishing both plows to extend the life for years to come and avoided the costly expense of buying new.
Upgrading boom mower to assist with more reliable mowing maintenance along our roads.
Cutting the township expenses by eliminating cemetery mowing contract and placing that responsibility back on the trustees and township staff.
Successfully running Cleanup Day for Perry Township residents every year in office.
Bringing in Armstrong with competitive high speed fiber optic internet and phone service along with another option for direct connection cable service that does not require satellite.
Upgrading to a one ton utility pickup with dump and plow that is better suited for a township our size and will assist in better road management in the winter.
Averaging over $400,000.00 in carry over and increased the carry over each year which gives the township a reserve for emergencies.
"I have attended every trustee meeting to discuss financial, cemetery, zoning inquiries, and most of all road maintenance and upkeep," Mott said. "I have listened to our residents about road maintenance, including mowing concerns and resolved those issues as they arose.""I enjoy being a part of Perry Township and regardless of what happens I will always be a part of Perry because I love living here," he added. "I humbly ask for your support in re-electing me as your Trustee."
Larry D. Weirich
Larry D. Weirich, 59, is running for his third term on the Perry Township board of trustees.
Weirich is a graduate of Clear Fork High School. He has worked for five years as the administrator for the Village of Bellville. He worked 16 years for the Richland County Highway Department. He retired from the Ohio Department of Transportation as the Richland County transportation administrator. He also worked as a licensed real estate agent for Chuck Warner and Associates and served as president of the Mansfield Board of Realtors.
Weirich spent 15 years on the Worthington Township Fire & Rescue Squad, where he served as assistant chief. He has been the chairman of the Perry Township Zoning Board of Appeals. He's a current member of the Richland County Regional Planning Technical Advisory Committee. He also holds a commercial driver's license, which allows him to drive and operate township trucks.
Weirich said his goals, if reelected, are to maintain the township's equipment and roadway maintenance programs, work with the zoning inspector and committees to improve the township's zoning resolutions and maintain strong financial accountability for township residents.
As a trustee, Weirich created a maintenance program with a four-year cycle to allow for better road maintenance planning. He also worked to update bidding requirements for contracts.
Weirich also secured a safety grant in excess of $40,000 to update road signage and $149,000 in American Relief Plan funding for infrastructure improvements.