Leo Wilhelm is on the Nov. 3 ballot seeking a full term as a Genoa Township trustee.
Wilhelm has sat at the Genoa trustee dais since Jan. 1 of this year when he was selected to serve the remainder of Barb Lewis’s term in office when she became a Delaware County commissioner.
Wilhelm, originally from Upper Arlington, attended The Ohio State University and graduated summa cum laude from Franklin University in 1980 with a bachelor’s of science in business administration/accounting.
Following 16 years in public accounting in private industry, Wilhelm accepted a position with the State Teachers Retirement System, where he works today.
Locally, Wilhelm has served 15 years between the township’s board of zoning appeals and zoning commission – five years as chair of zoning, four years as BZA chair.
Asked why he’s seeking a full term in office, Wilhelm said it’s to help keep the township moving in the right direction as it responds to growth.
“Over the past 20 years, Genoa Township has worked with a very active group of volunteers to create a township that’s highly desirable and very family-friendly,” Wilhelm said. “We want to keep that momentum going, to be sure we continue to grow in a controlled manner.”
Asked about the three items that he finds important, Wilhelm said financial responsibility, updating the township’s comprehensive master plan, and eliminating duplication of services.
“We want to make certain our residents get the most for their dollar, while making sure essential services keep the township operating efficiently,” he said. “The zoning commission has the comprehensive master plan in their court right now. They have to come up with recommendations for us, primarily to define some things that cropped up over the last few years that are going to impact development as we move forward.”
Wilhelm said duplication of services, especially the overlap of Genoa Fire Department’s EMT/paramedic services and Delaware County’s EMS unit in the township, is an overlap that shouldn’t be there.
“That’s an issue that needs to be negotiated with Delaware County and other jurisdictions,” he said. “We’re seeing some slow progress there.”
What raises concerns among trustees is infrastructure within the township but not under the township’s control, he said.
“Worthington Road is going to be a difficult arterial,” Wilhelm said. “It’s not really capable of handling the traffic, but Worthington Road is Delaware County, and Route 3 is the state. The Simon-Tanger outlet mall is going to have an impact on our township, adding traffic to Plum Road and Lewis Center Road. Infrastructure is that nagging thing we’ve got to make work, but how do you get all of these entities working together?”
“We want to protect the livability of Genoa Township, and I believe we can control development in our township from excess density,” he said. “But no matter what we do with our comprehensive plan, we’ve got to recognize there are forces not under our control; we can’t control what’s outside our borders.”
Wilhelm said his year as a trustee has been productive and valuable. He said he works well with Trustees Karl Gebhardt and Rick Carfagna. They don’t always agree, he said, but find consensus on what’s important.
“I think we’re doing fine financially,” Wilhelm said. “We have a great group of volunteers who keep a close eye on our budget. We have a balanced budget, no debt. Taxes are as low as we can maintain them and still provide services. If I were running a business, I wouldn’t run it any differently.”
“I’ve never been involved in a campaign,” Wilhelm added. “I’ve been walking, knocking, and dropping literature. I feel comfortable talking to our residents. I’m passionate about this township.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093