There are two candidates on the Nov. 3 ballot for a single open seat on the Genoa Township Board of Trustees. Leo Wilhelm has filled the seat vacated by former Trustee Barb Lewis when she became a Delaware County commissioner on Jan. 1.
Wilhelm is running for a full four-year term in office, and is being challenged by 33-year township resident Frank Dantonio.
Dantonio, who was born in Texas and grew up in Zanesville, graduated from Otterbein University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration/accounting. His work career includes almost 40 years serving with a variety of firms as a tax accountant, tax manager, tax partner, and his current position as a managing principal with Multistate Tax Service.
Locally, Dantonio served on the Big Walnut Board of Education from 1996 to 1999, has been a member of the Genoa Township Board of Zoning Appeals, and served on the township’s Parks Advisory Board in the early 2000s.
“Genoa Township is at a critical crossroads of maintaining its historic rural heritage,” he said during an interview last week when asked why he is running for a seat on the Genoa trustee dais. “We’re becoming an overpopulated, overtaxed, congested suburb without private green space.”
Asked for the three items that would top his agenda were he elected to serve as a trustee, Dantonio said:
• Maintain a high level of services — police, fire, zoning, parks and roads — while remaining financially responsible.
“I would focus on getting input from Genoa taxpayers before making predetermined decisions,” Dantonio said. “I think the problem in the past and with the current board is there’s too many variances granted in violation of our master plan that results in excessive land density and traffic, and places a burden on public services.”
Dantonio said another example of predetermined decisions would be the increase in sewer taps approved by trustees in violation of the existing master plan.
“Genoa has not been considering the burden that housing development variances place on infrastructure, including systems,” Dantonio said. “The trustees, and we the people, have the authority to just say no, and not grant variances for the profit and benefit of a few at the expense of all.
“When somebody buys a home in the township, they are buying based on what Genoa is today, what the zoning plan is,” Dantonio said. “When you grant variances, you violate the master plan, you change the rules of the game, and you devalue home owners’ property.”
Dantonio also expressed concerns about what he called intentionally overtaxing Genoa residents.
“For accounting and budgeting purposes, Genoa uses several different types of accounts for different types of incomes and expenses,” Dantonio said. “Several of these accounts currently have surplus amounts in them that have not been appropriated or budgeted and were caused by the over-collection of real estate taxes. Although it’s appropriate for Genoa to have a certain amount of extra money available for emergency purposes, government best practices state that surplus money in all accounts should be three to six months of annual operating expenses.”
Asked what is the one message he would like to send to Genoa Township voters, Dantonio said it’s very important for people to become actively involved in the township’s future.
“The first step would be to go to the polls on Nov. 3 and vote for a trustee who will respond to the majority of Genoa taxpayers,” he said.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093