MADISON AND MIFFLIN TOWNSHIPS — Voters in Madison and Mifflin townships will both choose between three trustee candidates for two seats on Nov. 2.
Madison Township voters will see Thomas Craft, Daniel Fletcher and James Houser on the ballot. Voters will choose two.
The two winners will serve on the Madison Township board of trustees from Jan. 1, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2025. The annual salary for a trustee is $13,612.
Mifflin Township voters will vote for two candidates from among Matt Cook, John Jaholnyckyj and Wayne Liggett. The two winners will serve their term from 2022 to 2026. Their average annual salary is around $10,000.
Each candidate was contacted by Richland Source via email on Tuesday, Oct. 5, and asked to answer the following questions by Monday, Oct. 11:
The six candidates included in this story responded to these questions via email. Candidates were asked to limit their responses to three to five sentences each.
The following responses are listed in alphabetical order and have been lightly edited for clarity. To reach each candidate's response in full, click the link below:
Madison Township has been in fiscal caution since 2012. A three-year financial forecast by the state auditor's office says Madison Township will see deficit spending in next three years if no actions are taken.
Craft, 60, is the challenger against current incumbents Fletcher and Houser, but he's no newcomer. He believes his previous experience as a Madison Township trustee will be useful in guiding the township into good fiscal standing.
"With my 25 years of experience as the general manager of a large HVAC company, the budgeting, the responsibility for employees and general business, I believe this experience along with my prior experience as a trustee gives me the ability to understand and improve the financial situation of the township," he said.
Craft said he believes Madison's greatest asset is its people. He said he believes Madison residents should be more involved in the decisions made by the township trustees.
"We need to become a united township for the betterment of the people of Madison Township," he said.
Fletcher, 64, has served close to 10 years as a Madison Township trustee. His plan to bring the township into good financial standing is twofold.
"Continue monitoring expenses and revenue to ensure the township stays within financial compliance with the state auditor," he said. "Seek and apply for grants and low or zero interest loans to reduce the financial burden of the township residents."
Fletcher said he also believes Madison's residents are its greatest assets. He also highlighted the township's road department, fire department and zoning department.
"I would continue to improve the infrastructure and departmental equipment as I have in the past to make Madison Township a more enjoyable residential and commercial community," he said.
Houser, 68, currently serves as the chairman of the board of trustees. His plan to bring the township into good financial standing is to promote economic development, including new businesses and more jobs.
"Good financial standing is a very important part of the trustees job," he said. "This can only be done through investments, savings and wise economic choices. This is not an individual decision but a joint effort on every department and employee of Madison Township to give and take."
Houser said he agreed that Madison's residents are its greatest assets. He hopes to retain his position as a trustee to continue to bring Madison residents services like road maintenance, lighting districts, fire and medical services, and the elimination of blight.
"I would like to continue to serve the individuals of Madison Township so that they are represented by a full-time, hands on, dedicated trustee who is willing to not just listen to their concerns but act on those concerns," he said.
Cook, 41, said believes the greatest challenge facing Mifflin Township residents is maintaining the township roads.
"If re-elected, I will continue to look at different cost saving measures to maintain the roads," he said.
Cook said the greatest asset Mifflin Township has is its fire and road department employees. He hopes to retain his seat as a trustee to continue to better these services.
"Along with these great assets comes a stronger township," he said. "If re-elected, I will strive to sustain our best assets and utilize these assets to maintain a safe community and great place to raise a family."
Jaholnyckyj, 63, also cited the roads in Mifflin Township as its greatest challenge. He noted the rising costs of asphalt and equipment in completing these projects.
"Trying to keep personnel, some of our fire personnel have left for larger townships and cities such as Wooster," he added. "Work on obtaining more grants. Develop remote areas into more housing developments and attracting more businesses."
Despite these challenges, Jaholnyckyj said the township has seen its most progressive years during his tenure as a trustee, including a new website and a new fire station on Ashland Road.
"We have a safe community to raise our families, one of the best EMS and fire personnel, great road department and township services," he said. "The schools and township services are why people buy homes and want to raise families in these neighborhoods."
Liggett, 61, is the challenger against incumbents Cook and Jaholnyckyj. He said he has a singular motivation for running for township trustee this year.
"I feel taxes should have not been raised in the last election on budgets to come in future years. This was wrong," he said. "I attended most of the meetings on the phone when this took place and was against it at that time due to COVID-19 was hitting hard people were losing jobs."
Liggett touted his experience with roads and budgeting skills for jobs to be done the right way.
"I will be just a phone call away to try to help Mifflin Township people with their needs, and try to change trustees meetings back to late afternoon so the residents can attend after work," Liggett said.