During Sunbury Village Council’s Jan. 6 reorganization meeting, council member Dave Miller was selected to serve as council’s 2016 president pro tem. Miller, originally appointed to serve out the term of a vacant seat on council, was subsequently elected to serve a full four-year term.
Miller, who moved to Sunbury in 2005, grew up in the Dayton area, and graduated from Vandalia High School. (He played football on a team that went undefeated during his senior year and won the Southwestern League championship.)
In his day job, Miller is a vice president of customer service for Insurance Solutions Group, doing quarterly income tax filing for more than 150 cities in Ohio and Michigan.
Miller said he became interested in serving on Sunbury Village Council when he began attending meetings because of traffic issues in his Sunbury Mills neighborhood.
“When they built General Rosecrans Elementary School and Big Walnut Middle School, that changed the traffic flow in our neighborhood,” Miller said during a phone interview last week. “I started attending council meetings about our neighborhood traffic problems, and that process got me interested in council.”
When former village administrator Dave Martin told Miller about an opening on council, he applied for the position, got it, and said he has enjoyed his time at the council dais since day one.
“It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy everything about it, especially serving the community I live in,” Miller said. “Local government is the most pure and responsive form of government there is, but it works well only when we participate in the process.”
Miller came to council at a time when there are several very hot irons in the proverbial fire. Of special note on council’s agenda is proposed development on recently annexed land west of the village core – Northgate Commercial District, a southern Interstate 71 interchange, and a new roadway leading into the village from that interchange – Sunbury Parkway.
“I hope I can be a part of keeping Old Sunbury intact while the newer part of Sunbury is developing to the west,” Miller said. “As Northgate Commercial District is built we’re trying to get something that’s sustainable, something that looks good, something in that area the residents of Sunbury can be proud of.”
Miller said it’s not a simple process. There’s funding for infrastructure improvements and added services tied to a Northgate New Community Authority (NCA) already approved, and a possible future Joint Economic Development District (JEDD); and there are sewer, road, right of ways that are each separate issues that wrap into a final development plan that then must meet zoning code or negotiated variances.
“We have work group meetings, no quorums, but we discuss problems and issues with developers that we can bring to council and zoning,” Miller said. “We talk about infrastructure and taxes, keeping schools whole, how we’re going to pay for increased services and village improvements.
“We want the village to be heading the right way as we become a city,” Miller added. “We’re already over 5,000 in population. That will be official after the 2020 census, and we’ll be the city of Sunbury. We know that there’s no stopping growth that’s coming into the area. Sunbury’s council and zoning are both working very hard to get a plan in place that works for the long term.”
Dave Miller serves as Sunbury Village Council’s liaison with the Big Walnut Board of Education, heads up council’s IT committee, serves on the parks & safety and income tax review committees, and on the finance and 139 committees of the whole of council.
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.