Meet the Candidates in Delaware County Races


Staff Report



Editor’s Note: We asked candidates for council that had email addresses to answer a brief survey. Here are there responses.

GENERAL ELECTION – November 7, 2017

NAME/ADDRESS/ZIP

MEMBER OF COUNCIL CITY OF WESTERVILLE (sent to all)

VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 4 – TERM COMM 12/01/17

JOHN M. BOKROS

Kathy Cocuzzi

Lived in Westerville for 35 years, husband David, three children, three grandchildren. I’m 65 years old have a BA in Psychology and a BA in Speech Pathology.

I would like to be re-elected to City Council. I have served for 12 years, 6 of those as Mayor. It is an honor and a privilege to serve our community. I am a hard worker and provide proven, positive leadership to Westerville. I would like to continue to keep us moving forward.

The most pressing issues in Westerville include:

  • Street maintenance, constantly evaluating the conditions of our streets and providing the necessary maintenance. Currently the City spends around $8 million each year to accomplish this, doing everything from plane and overlay to complete street rehabilitation.
  • Completion of the community center expansion which the voters approved. It will be built in 2018 and 2019.
  • Continuing to improve traffic. Currently the City is re-working the Schrock and Cleveland interchange with $14million in federal and state grants. This will add lanes both north and southbound. While these projects can be painful while in the midst of the construction, the end result is smoother traffic.

Valerie Cumming

Provide a brief biography of yourself (age, professional info, family, years lived in city/village, etc.).

I am 39 years old. I was born in Dayton and moved to Columbus in 1996 to attend college at The Ohio State University, where I met my husband, Mark Vukovic. We moved to Westerville after college and have lived here for 15 years. We have 4 daughters: Abby (14), Mabel (11), Martha (8), and Penny (5). I am a freelance writer and writing teacher. I’ve published more than 30 short stories and I currently write a current events blog for a major textbook company, which is used in middle schools and high schools all over the country.

Why should you be elected to office?

As the mother of a young family, I believe that I’m in a unique position to represent the needs of our growing and changing community. I have always been passionate about serving my community, even while working and raising four children: I am the leader of three Girl Scout troops, a past member of the Westerville Girl Scout Service Unit Board, a delegate to the Westerville Parent Council, a member of 100 Women of Westerville, and a frequent volunteer in the schools. I am not a career politician, but rather a concerned wife and mother who wants to make sure that we leave Westerville strong and vibrant for the next generation. I believe that in order to do that, we must build a plan of action that’s forward-thinking, imagining tomorrow’s problems and doing our best to craft solutions today.

What are the most pressing issues your city/village is facing?

In my opinion, the biggest issue facing our city is that we are really “two Westervilles.” While our average household income is much higher than the state and national average, 25% of our population is considered “poor” (that is, not making a living wage). The unemployment rate for African Americans is nearly three times higher than the city average. And while we pride ourselves on being a safe and family-friendly community, we can’t ignore those in our community who say that they don’t feel safe or welcome here. If we are going to move forward effectively as a community, we need to first address these disparities.

What is your plan for addressing the issues you listed?

First and foremost, I want to make Westerville more affordable, so that seniors and young families aren’t “priced out.” Here’s how we do that: First, we don’t raise the income tax. Second, we provide affordable housing by increasing housing density, by building on underutilized commercial land, or by considering mandatory inclusionary zoning, which requires that developers set aside a certain percentage of new housing units to be affordable for middle- and lower-income buyers. Third, we improve access to public transportation. Americans spend roughly $9,000 per year on their cars, and for 60% of milennials, public transportaiton is the key factor in deciding where they will live. Yet in Westerville, only 20% of residents live within 1/4 mile of a bus stop. Expanding existing routes and adding bus stops — as well as improving walkability and bikeability by adding sidewalks in areas that don’t have them — will save people on daily living expenses. Fourth, we invest in sustainable energy initiatives to reduce municipal energy use, increase energy efficiency, and generate energy via solar power to save residents money by giving them a credit on their monthly utility bill.

It is also essential that we address issues of social inequality as well as economic inequality. I would be in favor of instituting a citywide LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance such as we have seen in 16 other Ohio cities, including Columbus and two of its suburbs. I would also like to consider making Westerville a “safe haven” community to protect our valuable immigrant population. Finally, because I believe that communication is the first step toward solving problems, I would like to host several open-forum, town hall-style meetings to discuss racial tensions and to give people a space to share their experiences. If we are truly going to be a safe and family-friendly community, we need to make sure that those values apply equally to all of our citizens so that everyone feels safe and welcome in Westerville, now and for generations to come.

Alex Heckman

Biography: I have extensive educational and professional experience in leading and managing government and nonprofit organizations in the community interest. Highlights include:

a. Serving for three years as a Budget and Policy Analyst for the Ohio Legislature

b. Working as a performance auditor and audit manager for three years for the Ohio Auditor of State

c. Serving a four-year term on the Westerville School Board

d. Currently serving as the Department Chair and Chair of Public Administration programs at Franklin University. At Franklin, I started the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, which prepares people to lead and manage government organizations

e. Volunteering as a Guardian Ad Litem for CASA of Franklin County

I earned an MPA and Ph.D. in Public Policy & Management from Ohio State University. I am also a graduate of Capital University and Westerville South High School.

I have lived in Westerville for 45 years and live in Spring Grove North with my wife, Vanessa, and three daughters.

Why I should be elected:

I grew up in Westerville and think it is time for new leadership in the City that will be more fiscally responsible and set new strategic priorities. I bring extensive financial and leadership experience to City Council that will enable me to accomplish these goals. I would use my professional experience to bring new ideas and solutions to the city, bit do so in a way that respects and builds upon the traditions and successes of the community. I would focus on making Westerville a leader in sustainability and being a more affordable place to live and raise a family.

What are the most pressing issues your city/village is facing?

The most pressing issue facing Westerville is to manage growth and development in a way that makes Westerville an affordable, family friendly, welcoming, and thriving community. This requires carefully watching the city’s wallet, which is one my strengths as former performance auditor who evaluated the efficiency of local governments. It also requires a vision to develop the city in a way that makes Westerville a place where families, seniors, and young people want to live and can afford to do so. This means providing multiple mobility options along with diverse recreation and retail opportunities and high quality parks.

What is your plan for addressing the issues you listed?

The first step to addressing these issues is to prudently manage the city’s budget to minimize unnecessary and wasteful spending. Another key step is to make Westerville a leader in environmental sustainability. These two priorities are directly related in that reducing spending will enable investments in sustainability or green initiatives. Also, prudent sustainability initiatives – such as reducing waste, increasing energy efficiency, and developing renewable energy capacity – will produce financial savings. These saving can be used to invest in more important priorities. Also, critical to managing growth in Westerville is to promote economic development and zoning policies that make the city more walkable, livable, and affordable.

Michael Heyeck

Personal: Married to wife Fernanda for 43 years. We have lived in Westerville in the same house in Annehurst subdivision since 1980. We have our daughter Laura, our sons Rick (& his wife Melissa), and Jim (& his wife Beth), We have two grandchildren with a third due in January. I am 62 years of age, but will be 63 years of age by Election Day.

Occupation: Senior Vice President, Transmission, American Electric Power (retired 2013); currently Independent Electric Utility Consultant.

Education: MBA, University of Dayton; Darden Executive Program, University of Virginia; AEP Management

Program, The Ohio State University; BS, MS, Electrical

Engineering, NJ Institute of Technology.

Qualifications for Office: Experienced Leadership on City Council since 1993: Held positions of Chairman, Mayor, Vice Chairman for nearly 10 years; Served Westerville as Volunteer for numerous City and Community Boards since 1986; Experienced in Private Industry with Business and Finance Education and Experience since 1976.

Community Involvement: Over 30 years of community leadership, including Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM) Board, Westerville Honor Flight, COTA Board, Westerville Planning Commission, Westerville Industry & Commerce Corporation, Westerville Parks Foundation, Westerville representative to Otterbein’s Innovation Center (The Point), Westerville Traffic Commission, Westerville Visitors & Convention Bureau, Westerville Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, Westerville-Blendon Fire Advisory Committee, and more.

Accomplishments: Westerville, on my watch as City Councilman, has enjoyed over $200 million of investment in roads, bridges, 40 parks (655 acres), 44 miles of trails, Uptown parking, facilities, sewers, electric utility lines, substations and street lights, and water plant and pipes. Since the last decade, we tripled our budget to improve street maintenance with curb and gutter replacement and repairs. We must continue to focus on investment in our roads and Infrastructure for our citizens and their property value, and for our businesses in support of vibrant commerce. These are the basics for any city.

Top Priorities

Westerville’s top priority is to preserve our safe, family-friendly, small-town atmosphere by continued excellent services by our Police, Fire, and EMS, our award-winning Parks & Recreation department, and all City departments. We also need continued investment in roads and infrastructure, as well as improving Uptown Westerville as our vibrant centerpiece. It is my intent to fund ongoing needs without raising taxes for the foreseeable future. Our “City Within A Park” strategy keeps Westerville attractive for economic development (new jobs and new income tax revenue) without raising tax rates.

Fiscal Policy

Westerville has annual five-year financial planning (now per our Charter), and sound fiscal policy reserves to fund needs well into the future without raising taxes. Westerville earned many financial awards by the Auditor of State, and earned the highest financial ratings by independent agencies (Moody’s and S&P). Only a few cities in Ohio enjoy these high ratings. Westerville dedicates 20-25% of income tax revenues to capital needs and the remainder to operational needs (e.g., Police). It is my intent to fund ongoing needs without raising taxes for the foreseeable future. This is my promise.

LARRY C. JENKINS

LEE ALAN PETERS

Having grown up in Central Ohio, I have lived in Westerville for 10 years. I attended The Ohio State University and received my undergraduate degree in business administration and a masters in public administration. I have also attended Ohio University receiving my masters in healthcare administration. I currently work as the Manager of Materials Management and Sterile Processing at University Hospital Samaritan Medical Center. My wife Dawn and I have two adult sons.

Why should you be elected to office? I believe that Westerville is at a tipping point. We can either become an exclusive community where upper middle and upper income people live or we can stay an affordable community that embraces diversity. We can make the city look asthetically pleasing or we can invest in some of the unfunded water and sewer projects that impact residents in their daily lives.

What are the most pressing issues your city/village is facing? Uptown parking, affordable housing, and accountability for construction projects.

What is your plan for addressing the issues you listed?

Uptown Parking

The City needs to be creative and build a parking deck. Let’s solve the long term parking issue in Uptown. Partnering with Otterbein to use the deck during the day, businesses in the evening and churches on Sunday morning would be a collarborative effort.

Affordable Housing – before we offer tax abatements to developers, we can get a commitment for some market based rents and or subsidies for housing. There are very few housing options under $150,000 in Westerville.

Construction Projects – Too many times, I have heard residents describe how a project was done wrong and had to be torn out and redone. We need to make sure projects are completed properly the first time. I also would like to see incentives offered to contractors to complete work ahead of schedule and penalties for them completing it late.

MEMBER OF COUNCIL VILLAGE OF GALENA (sent to incumbents)

VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 4 – TERM COMM 01/01/18

KATHY KRUPA

BOB MOLTER

David Simmons

Term: 1/01/14-12/31/17

David A. Simmons, age 66, is retired from the Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society), where he oversaw the process for registering historic properties in Ohio and was also the editor of their popular history journal. He and his wife, Melinda, have been residents of Galena for four decades. He first ran for village council in 1997 and has been a member of council ever since. Like most of Delaware County, the village is faced with meeting development challenges. To date, subdivisions have been added without changing the ability of families to quietly stroll the sidewalks, leisurely enjoy the village’s multiple parks, and take delight in the natural beauty that has long been a part of community life. The addition of new subdivisions on annexed land physically separated from the central core of the village has made it possible to maintain the “small-town feel” of Galena, minimizing its visual and operational impact of development on the central core of the village. The maintenance of community events like the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the village square has helped to encourage that feeling of communal life. I would hope to continue those efforts for future generations.

Dave Walker, Galena

Dave.Sandy.Walker@gmail.com, Term: 1/01/14-12/31/17

My interest in Galena Village Council is to preserve it’s “small town” feel and promote it’s access to nature, water fronts and trails while balancing growth opportunities with quality of life and budget.

MEMBER OF COUNCIL VILLAGE OF SUNBURY

VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 4 – TERM COMM 01/01/18

MARTIN FISHER

DAVE MARTIN

JOE ST. JOHN

SCOTT WEATHERBY

DELAWARE CITY COUNCIL

Incumbents George Hellinger, Carolyn Kay Riggle, and Kent Shafer will face competition from Dustin Nanna and write-in candidate Laura Roberts on Nov. 7 for Delaware City Council’s three at-large seats.

Write-in candidate Christopher Cook told The Gazette he has withdrawn from the race for personal reasons.

George Hellinger

A longtime city resident, Hellinger holds an MBA from Ashland University. He and his wife, Brindi, have two daughters.

Hellinger, who serves on the Delaware Planning Commission, said if re-elected to a second term, his decisions won’t be swayed by any campaign contributors since his campaign is self-funded.

“I am vested in our community and work tirelessly for all residents,” he said.

One of the most pressing issues facing the city, Hellinger said, is infrastructure, specifically street maintenance, which he added has been underfunded for years.

“The developments of the 1990s and 2000s are aging. These residential roads need attention, along with the major roads that move the majority of traffic through our town,” Hellinger said. “Additionally, our street curbs and gutters in neighborhoods that are 30 years old or older are failing and in desperate need of repair.”

To address road infrastructure, Hellinger said, he is hopeful council can “formulate a new road levy” to bring to voters in 2018. This time, he added, the city will need to better communicate the ins and outs of the levy to voters.

“A five- or seven-year maintenance-only levy will allow the city to demonstrate the effective use of levy funds,” Hellinger said. “Assuring residents that 100 percent of the road levy monies are supplemental to existing funding and not a replacement for funds reallocated to other needs is also necessary.”

Dustin Nanna

A professional caretaker for people with developmental disabilities at Reflektions LTD in Delaware, Nanna is a 2012 graduate of Hayes High School.

Nanna said he is seeking election to ensure council “remains responsive and receptive to the citizens, and because I think representation should come from all ages and walks of life.”

If Nanna is elected, one issue he would address is ease of and access to parking in downtown Delaware.

“Countless citizens have expressed to me a need to increase the parking spaces available in the immediate area of historic downtown,” he said. “To do so presents a unique challenge as I do not wish to see any of our beautiful, historic downtown demolished for this purpose.”

Nanna suggested an in-depth study be done on the feasibility of a parking garage being built on one of the city’s existing public lots.

“My concern with this is cost,” he said. “I do not wish to raise taxes for such a project unless it is a targeted ask at the voting booth.”

Carolyn Kay Riggle

A Delaware resident since 1985, Riggle has two daughters and has spent the last two decades as an escrow agent/marketing specialist for Lawyers Title Agency of Delaware.

A veteran council member with 14 years under her belt, Riggle said she is seeking re-election to help make sure the citizens of Delaware have access to services “on par with communities throughout central Ohio.”

“I know that I can continue to do a good job for (city residents), because I’m out in the community every day listening to what citizens have to say,” she said.

The city’s road system, Riggle added, needs to be a top priority moving forward.

“From maintenance to outdated intersections, traffic signal patterns, and parking, our system of roads has struggled to keep up with our explosive growth over the last 20 years, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down.”

Before crunching numbers to see how the city can start addressing these concerns, Riggle said, city officials need to make sure they are listening to residents and what they would like to see addressed.

“We need to get their input and to hear their thoughts, concerns, and priorities,” she said. “Together, we tackle this problem of how to pay for it and determine if a levy is needed and what should it look like.”

Riggle added she is opposed to a permanent tax levy.

Laura Roberts

A Delaware native and 1966 graduate of Hayes High School, Roberts has called the city home for over 40 years. The mother of one daughter, Roberts taught and tutored in several school districts throughout the country after receiving a B.S. in elementary education from Southern Illinois University.

As a write-in candidate, Roberts said, she decided to seek an at-large seat on council due to her strong desire to represent everyone in the community.

“Since Delaware is a very diverse community, having many cultures within its city limits, I felt a need for more representation and diversity on city council,” she said. “I would personally bring a visible representation of another culture in our fine city.”

Roberts said one challenge facing the city is making sure all “diverse cultures in the city have representation and are always considered in decision-making policies for the city.”

She said the city needs to be more supportive and proactive in bringing additional minority business opportunities to Delaware like culturally-diverse restaurants.

In addition, the city needs to be “more aware of the problems that various cultures face in everyday living,” Roberts added. “These challenges can be met with council members being more visible in all sectors of the whole community of Delaware.”

Kent Shafer

A city resident since 2003, Shafer, who is seeking a second term on council, is a lifelong public servant having served over three decades on the Columbus Division of Police. He owns a consulting business focused on criminal justice, public safety, and public policy matters.

In addition to being a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Shafer also holds two undergraduate degrees (electronics engineering and business administration).

“My educational background and experience provide me a foundation from which to understand issues and work collaboratively with others to accomplish objectives,” Shafer said.

Having served as chairman of the city’s Parking & Safety Committee while also spearheading the city’s efforts to improve downtown parking, Shafer said another term in office would allow him the opportunity to continue addressing the parking concerns by helping see through the city’s implementation matrix.

“As a result of a comprehensive study of our downtown parking situation, we have an action matrix for improvements in terms of better utilization of existing space, increasing capacity, and providing better public information,” Shafer said. “The plan is divided into short-term, mid-term, and long-term objectives.”

POWELL CITY COUNCIL

With four seats up for grabs on Nov. 7, Powell City Council could look very different when the calendar turns to 2018.

Three incumbents — Frank Bertone, Thomas Counts, and Brian Lorenz — face competition from a list of challengers that includes Christina Drummond, David Ebersole, Jeffrey Gardiner, Melissa Riggins, and Sharon Valvona.

Current council member Jim Hrivnak is not seeking re-election.

Frank Bertone

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Bertone has been employed by Nationwide since 1993. He currently works as a trust officer/product consultant for the Nationwide Trust Company. He and his wife, Julie, have called Powell home since 2003. The couple has three daughters.

Bertone said he is seeking re-election in order to “protect the quality of life we enjoy in Powell and to make certain that it will continue for future generations.”

“As a longtime resident of Powell with a solid understanding of our past, present, and future, I bring to the conversation a diverse knowledge of the issues and opportunities before us,” he added.

A member of various city committees, Bertone said one issue he would like to continue to address in the future is traffic enhancements and improvements, which include downtown streets, Liberty and Seldom Seen road improvements, regional roadways, bike paths, downtown parking and signage, traffic signal at Liberty Street and Grace Drive, continued annual street maintenance, sidewalk repair, and storm sewer and curb inlet repair.

To address the traffic infrastructure, the city must seek feedback from the community while developing a funding and prioritization strategy, he added.

“When and where possible, we will aim to coordinate our efforts with other surrounding communities and partners,” Bertone said.

Thomas Counts

A lawyer for the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, Counts and his wife, Carolyn, have resided in Powell for 22 years. The couple has two daughters.

A public servant in Powell for 21 years, first on the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals and then on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Counts has spent the past 12 years on council. He believes experience in local government is a good thing to have on council, which is one reason he is seeking re-election.

“Powell is one of the best cities in the United States in which to live because of steady, conservative, rational approach to providing services and amenities to its residents,” he said. “That only comes with experience.”

The biggest issue facing the city, he added, isn’t stopping continued development, but keeping Powell “a great place to live, which means dealing with our traffic issues, maintaining our roads, bike paths, sewers, and adding to our park and bike path system.”

Counts said he would like to see a citizens committee formed to study the city’s infrastructure and how to fund such improvements.

“The city needs a dedicated source of funding to deal with our traffic issues and to maintain existing and build new infrastructure when the need arises, not when our residents become totally frustrated,” he said.

Christina Drummond

A mother of two, Drummond and her husband, Mike, have called Powell home since 2015.

Drummond, who holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in international science and technology policy from George Washington University, is currently employed as a management consultant who helps start-ups, nonprofits, and coalitions increase their impacts and scale their operations.

“After observing Powell’s government since 2015, I decided to run for my first political office as I saw a way to contribute my skills for the good of my community,” Drummond said.

She added Powell is on the verge of becoming “the exceptional city envisioned in our comprehensive plan, supportive of families young and old with the highest caliber of public services, programs, and infrastructure.”

In order to achieve this, Drummond said, the city must make sure it’s financially able to address aging infrastructure and sustain the “high-level of services” its residents have come to expect.

“We must find ways to strengthen our local economy and diversify our city’s revenue base,” she said. “It is time for the city to strategically plan, partner, and communicate how it’ll pursue funds to improve our area while sustaining services over the years to come.”

While budgeting for the future would be a top priority for Drummond if elected, she said she would also work to “proactively seek out ways for our city to do more with less.”

David Ebersole

A Powell resident and private attorney who advises business clients on tax issues and controversies, Ebersole is no stranger to public service having served as assistant attorney general for the State of Ohio from 2011-2016.

While in Columbus, Ebersole said, “I gained invaluable experience regarding state and local governments in Ohio. My day-to-day duties included defending the state’s tax base for essential public services, and representing the Ohio Department of Taxation before the Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals.”

Ebersole added he has “the integrity, credentials, and listening skills to restore the public trust in Powell City Council,” which he called one of the most pressing issues facing the city.

To restore public trust, council needs to listen to residents and act on their behalf, Ebersole said.

“If I were elected to council, I expect that citizens would start coming back to city council meetings because I listen, and I truly value their input,” he said. “Ever since city council approved the Powell Crossing apartments in June of 2014, it has been clear that, as a collective body, council does not listen to the people.”

Ebersole added, “The current city council has strayed from Powell’s identity through its efforts to increase population density and approve high-density housing in the downtown area.”

Jeffrey Gardiner

A Powell resident since 2013, Gardiner is married to his wife, Lauren, and the couple has two young children.

Gardiner, who holds a master’s degree in public policy from The Ohio State University, works at J.P. Morgan Chase where he leads a team of 10 portfolio managers who oversee fully diversified investment portfolios.

With two youngsters at home, Gardiner said, he and his wife are set on raising their kids in Powell, and he is running for public office “to get involved and do my small part to ensure Powell continues to be a great place to raise a family.”

He added that his financial and public policy backgrounds would add value to council.

The biggest issue facing the city, Gardiner said, is finding balance between limiting high-density housing while also following both zoning codes and private property rights.

Defining high-density housing can be tough, he said, and for that reason, he would apply a list of four questions when determining which development projects to support: What is the impact to traffic? What is the impact to our school district? What is the impact to our balance sheet? What are the positive community externalities that would stem from that project?

Brian Lorenz

A Powell City Council member since 2010, Lorenz and his wife, Sue, have called the city home for 12 years. The couple has four children.

Lorenz, who served a five-year stint on the city’s Planning Commission, holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in geography and planning from the University of Toledo. He is currently employed by a local architecture/engineering firm as the director of planning and permitting.

Lorenz is seeking re-election in hopes of seeing through several ongoing projects.

“I have helped lead Powell through a challenging time in our history and have a proven track record of representing our constituents in a fair and consistent manner,” he said.

One of the most pressing issues facing the city, Lorenz said, is traffic, which he called “a regional problem that is not limited to the Four Corners.”

“It includes other regional intersections such as Home Road and 315,” he said. “Improving flow in and around our town is a priority.”

To address the issue, Lorenz said, he and other council members worked to implement the Keep Powell Moving initiative a year ago.

“This plan lays the foundation to mitigate traffic congestion in and around our town center,” he said. “We are working through cost effective measures that are called out in our plan such as the installation of regional directional signage to route visitors around town to attractions such as the zoo.”

Melissa Riggins

A Powell resident for 16 years, Riggins holds a juris doctorate from the University of Akron School of Law and a B.A. in communication from Bowling Green State University.

Riggins, who has owned her own private law practice for 22 years, has worked as a practicing attorney for nearly 30 years. She also serves as an Ohio Department of Education hearing officer.

As a longtime city resident, Riggins said she felt compelled to step forward and offer her services as the city considers how to handle future growth.

“If given the opportunity to serve on council, I will use my training and experience to provide ethical, legal and well-reasoned ideas and solutions that can be realistically implemented to move our city forward,” she said.

If elected, Riggins plans to address the need to increase the city’s revenue in a “bedroom community.”

“We have to come up with realistic ideas and solutions to generate more revenue,” she said. “The only other option is to cut costs by reducing the services that the city provides. I will push to hire an economic development director who will be charged with searching out business/economic opportunities that will blend in with our community and generate much-needed revenue for the city.”

Sharon Valvona

An information technology professional for the past 30 years — currently employed in the IT department at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center — Valvona has lived in Powell for over two decades with her husband.

Valvona said she is running for office in order to help address growing concerns residents have raised in recent surveys about council not listening to the taxpayers.

“Current residents have been attracted to a tree city with family-oriented neighborhoods and good schools,” she said. “Since 2014, I have been privileged to work with committed citizens across the city on efforts to protect the character of Powell.”

Valvona said while she supports appropriate growth and development in Powell, she shares the same perspective as “the majority of citizens that high-density housing is not the right kind of development for downtown.”

One reason for that, she added, is traffic and safety concerns along Powell Road.

“Traffic will only be exacerbated by the 170-plus approved or proposed housing units near the Four Corners in downtown,” Valvona said.

Fixing the traffic problems won’t be an easy task, she added.

“One cost-effective method to ease traffic at the Four Corners would be to stop approval of high-density housing developments nearby that will exacerbate existing traffic issues,” Valvona said. “Signage that helps residents and non-residents avoid the Four Corners by taking advantage of Bennett and Murphy parkways would make the best use of these improvements.”

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Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by the Delaware County Board of Elections.

Information for this story was provided by the Delaware County Board of Elections.