Prairie Township Trustee {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

In the township of Prairie, five candidates are seeking two open trustee positions.Read more:Prairie Township trustees: Candidates agree -- water, sewer rates too high
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    Ronald D. Ball Retired Firefighter/Current Trustee

  • James Beardsley

  • Candidate picture

    Steve Kennedy Self Employed

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    Mike McKay Manager, Early Stage Investment Funds, State of Ohio

  • Cathy Schmeizer

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Biographical Information

What can trustees do to get redevelopment started in the township?

What are the major issues you would face if elected, and what would you do about them?

Why are you the best-qualified candidate for this position?

What else would you like to say to voters?

Age 69
Education Graduate SWCS; Grant Hospital Paramedic Program graduate; numerous fire and emergency medical certifications.
Experience Currently serving my eight year as a township trustee. Prior to being elected, I proudly served the residents of the township for 37 years as a firefighter/paramedic. Retired from the township as a Lieutenant.
Family Wife of 38-years, 4 daughters, 6 grandchildren
Religion Christian
Campaign email
Trustees need to continue to focus on the redevelopment of our township by removing blighted properties and creating opportunities to revitalize and rejuvenate the economy of the township. The revitalization of West Broad Street was a step to improve the appearance and function of the township corridor and to spur redevelopment. Working with area business owners and residents in order to address additional redevelopment opportunities for the township must occur in order for our township to grow and attract new residents. We should also continue to address safety and security within the township in order to attract new development within the township.
One of the biggest issues that we face are the water and sewer rates. We need to continuing to look for viable ways to lower water and sewer rates, including ongoing work with state and local government officials. This has been an ongoing issue in the township for quite some time and we need to continue to look for alternative ways to address this problem. If elected, I will continue to work diligently and will pursue all available avenues to address this ongoing issue.

During my eight years as trustee, I have attended numerous meetings related to the township and have continued to build upon my knowledge and understanding of the processes, rules and regulations that govern our township. I have, and will continue to work diligently to ensure the concerns of the residents are heard. I have been involved in many projects to improve the township, including increasing the Sheriff patrols to help provide a safe and secure community for township families and businesses.

In the eight years I have served as trustee, we have: maintained a balanced budget; the Community Center was opened; the West Broad streetscape was completed; the sidewalk program was doubled; blighted properties were addressed; the Galloway Sports Complex construction was started; hundreds of nuisance abatements were addressed; a Do Not Knock registry was put in place; the Beacon Hill and Woodlawn projects were completed; and, a Street Tree program was established.
If elected, I will continue the momentum of making our community one that we can continue to be proud of, keeping in mind the needs of our residents. I will also continue to efficiently utilize available resources. If re-elected I want to continue to be the voice of the residents and will continue to make sound, solid financial decisions and will spend taxpayers dollars responsibly. We also have one of the finest Fire Departments and I will continue to support their efforts in providing emergency services to residents. The Community Center is one of the biggest assets to our township and I will also continue to support their various programs. Our road crew maintains the township roads and I will continue to support their services, including snow removal, wood-chipper program and leaf program. I will also continue to support the efforts of our zoning department to address blighted properties and overall issues within the township.
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Age 62
Education Westland 1974
Experience Prairie Township Trustee 2006-2017, Franklin County Township Association President 2013-2016, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission current board member, executive board member of Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Family Wife Karen Kennedy, Son Marcus, Daughter Lindsey and 4 grandchildren
Religion Christian
Campaign email
Prairie Township redevelopment has been going strong for the last few years. I believe the first step in redevelopment is blight removal. Some examples of blight removal would be the removal of the Hometown Inn, the old mattress building, 17 apartment buildings in the Wingate complex, and removal of multiple blighted single-family homes. Taking a strong stance on blight removal opens the door for private investment. Prairie Township has invested 27 million toward redevelopment in the last 4 years. The Community Center and West Broad Street Scape are the highlights of these efforts. We are also working on development standards so that any new development along the new corridor will all look the same. The current board is also partnering with Rebuilding Together helping seniors and others in need to spur neighborhood redevelopment.
The one major issue is high water and sewer prices. Prairie Township trustees have no control over water and sewer prices. The Lake Darby plant is regulated by the PUCO; the eastern part of Prairie Township is controlled by the Franklin County Commissioners, who have full control of setting rates in the eastern part of Prairie Township. The Prairie township trustees believe the underlying issue is the City Of Columbus annexation policy. This policy gives Columbus total control over water and sewer for the whole Columbus region. I believe townships residents shouldn’t pay more for the same services being provided to Columbus residents. I have been working with our house and senate representatives to address Columbus Annexation policy. Earlier this year the Clean Water and Fair Pricing Amendment passed both the house and senate. Unfortunately the Governor vetoed the amendment. If re-elected I will do everything in my power to see this amendment becomes law.
I have experience and a broad knowledge of all issues facing the Township. The Township voters have supported me in the last three elections. With 12 years in this office, I believe my knowledge of the issues involving the Township is extensive. I am anxious to use my experience to continue serving all of the residents. I’m also driven by the belief Government should live within its means. I have a proven track record of being fiscally responsible with taxpayer’s money. The last 12 years have seen the township approve budgets and stay within them. The current board has expanded quality of life of Township residents by adding a Community Center, upgrading the west broad street corridor, adding additional sheriff patrols, leaf and chipping program, and demolished numerous eyesore properties. All without any property tax increase.
I have the experience and a broad knowledge of all issues facing the township. The township voters have supported me in the last three elections and with almost 12 years in office, my knowledge of the issues involving the Township is extensive. I believe I have represented Prairie Township residents fairly and competently during my 3 terms as a trustee. Your vote is importance and I hope I have provided appropriate leadership in areas of importance to you. On November 7, you get 2 votes for Prairie Township Trustee; please cast one of them for me, Steve Kennedy.
Age 47
Education The Ohio State University, B.A., Political Science
Experience Over 20 years service to community: Westland Area Commission, past Chair and current Zoning Cmte. Chair; United Westside Coalition; South-Western City Schools Educational Fdn., Bd. of Trustees; 20 year Ohio economic development professional
Family Married 23 years to wife Natalie
Religion Catholic
Vacant and chronic nuisance properties hurt neighborhoods, reduce the property tax base and are a drag on job growth. Part of economic development is redevelopment. The first step is to determine how a site should be redeveloped and for what type of use. The Township then has to determine incentives to offer and then must aggressively market the property. Sometimes, part of the problem is property owners aren’t willing to redevelop or sell to someone who will. We must work with the owners to determine their needs and expectations. The key is establishing a vision for the use of the property that has a greater economic return than the current use. That is what will motivate property owners to take action. We must focus on redevelopment of certain areas so we can create opportunities for new jobs and increase values on under-utilized properties. It is in the best interest of Prairie Township to have a redevelopment plan and to begin implementing it as soon as possible.
The top priority is to address the issue of water rates charged to Prairie Township residents. Many are paying $300, $400, $500 or more per quarter for water and it simply isn’t fair. We cannot continue to absorb rate increases for such basic services. We must develop better communication with Franklin County officials to get rates reduced. Clearly, the current Prairie Township voices are not communicating effectively on this matter. It’s time for a new voice in this discussion. I will work to change outdated policies so we have fair rates for all.

Another issue to be addressed is economic development. The best thing we can do to improve the job climate is support our local small businesses. I will lead efforts to promote and encourage new entrepreneurs with great ideas for new businesses so they can grow right here in Prairie Township. We must create partnerships with our local banks and work more closely with our schools to make sure we have the workforce needed for tomorrow’s jobs.
I have the experience and skills to do the job and an ongoing commitment to serve. For over 20 years, I have served our community in a number of capacities. A member of the Westland Area Commission since 1995, I currently chair the Zoning Committee and previously led the Commission for seven years as Chairman. I serve on the Board of Trustees of the South-Western City Schools Educational Foundation, and as a member of the United Westside Coalition, focusing on revitalization and economic development of the greater west side. In addition, for the past 20 years I have served the State of Ohio as an economic development professional, working with entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses to help them get their businesses off the ground and find the funding they need to be successful. I have an established record of leading efforts in planning, addressing critical issues of our neighborhoods and working cooperatively with neighborhood groups, residents, local officials and developers.
There are some core problems in Prairie Township that have been persistent and ongoing for nearly a decade. The water rates are the prime example. High water rates are holding people back, holding families back and hurting people who live on fixed incomes. This problem must be solved. If you reduce the rates, you put money back in people’s pockets so they can make home repairs they’ve been putting off, go on a vacation they haven’t taken, or even join the Prairie Township Community Center. We need to create an environment where people can succeed. I am running for Prairie Township Trustee because I care about our community and I want to make Prairie Township a better place to live, work and raise a family. I have the desire to serve and dedication to lead this Township and most importantly the experience and skills needed to do so. I believe it’s time for a new voice, new thoughts and new leadership. I can make a positive difference for Prairie Township and I ask for your vote.
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