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Enquirer Voter Guide

Park Hills City Council

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  • Candidate picture

    Wesley Deters

  • Steve Elkins

  • Candidate picture

    Sarah Froelich

  • Candidate picture

    Matt Mattone

  • Monty O'Hara

  • Candidate picture

    Karl W. Oberjohn

  • Candidate picture

    Jason Reser

  • Candidate picture

    Joe Shields

  • Candidate picture

    Pamela Spoor

  • Candidate picture

    Kevin Theissen

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Biographical Information

Why are you running?

What makes you the best candidate?

What specific services are you willing to cut?

What fees or taxes are you willing to raise in order to keep or expand government services?

City/town Park Hills, Kentucky
Education/Degrees BA English University of KY
Community Involvement Small Business Owner, FOP Donor, High School Head Coach, NPO volunteer work, Pre School Fundraising President, Multi Sport Team Mom
I am running for Park Hills City council because my husband and I are both third generation Park Hills residents. Together, we have three boys, which are considered fourth generation Deters children. Park Hills has an extremely rare history and geography, and I would consider it an honor to act as a voting member of council, while reflecting the residents' voices. My goal is to inch Park Hills toward its economic potential, while preserving its unparalleled historic relevance.
I have a diverse cross section of life and professional experience. I've learned the importance of hard work, dedication and teamwork through fifteen years of athletic competition, at both the National and NCAA level. I have worked professionally in both New York and Los Angeles at various levels of business sales and management, as well as managed several multi-million dollar companies. One of the efforts of which I am most proud, was acting as Cincinnati Director for a local non-profit, Bad Girl Ventures. It was in this role I broadened my public speaking skills, relationship building, and small business mentoring. My family and I love the city of Park Hills, and I hope to bring my business acumen, leadership, and teamwork abilities to City Council.
n/a
I am not an advocate for more government and bureaucracy; as a member of Park Hills City council, I will commit to not raising our property tax, and I will vote AGAINST the formation or implementation of new taxes. Government spending, especially for a town of only 3,000 residents, should be minimal.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Age 41
City/town Park Hills
Education/Degrees BA, Art History and Architecture / MFA, Design Criticism
Community Involvement Member of the Park Hills Communications Committee
Endorsements IBEW Local 212
Campaign Message good governance for our green city
I’m an instructional design writer and content strategist with a passion for public service and communication. I’m driven to turn challenges into opportunities. As a newer resident of Park Hills, I recognized some areas for improvement soon after I moved to the city. For example, I noticed that the city website—parkhillsky.net—needed an update. After attending City Council meetings for several months, I was nominated for the Communications Committee and in March of 2017, I worked with two other residents to rebuild the site. The city website is now much more effective. I’d like to continue refining the digital experience and the other ways residents, officials, and staff members communicate. I also see several other areas within our city government that I can help fine tune for the future.
I’m a hard worker and I’m always looking for ways to make our community better. I enjoy collaboration and research. I have more direct city experience than the average candidate does before running for City Council. I’ve attended almost every city business and caucus meeting since November 2016. I’ve worked with most of the city staff, committees, and civic association to create and update the city website, edit the city newsletter, and help with a number of city events ranging from Cleanup Day and weeding Trolley Park to the Garden Tour and Luminary Night. I’ve been a part of the conversations around development and planning for the future of Amsterdam Valley at the Plan Park Hills Forum. I attended several Financial Oversight Committee meetings to experience how our budget is created. I have a record of consistently observing and participating in the city’s work over the last two years. This has prepared me with knowledge of how City Council works and what our community needs today.
All of our services—police, fire, public works, and EMS through Ft. Wright—are important. I propose that we continue to provide the current and best services we can for residents and businesses.
Park Hills faces new expenses such as additional costs for EMS services and—as is the case for all other cities in the Commonwealth—a much higher contribution to state pensions than was ever planned for before this year. Meanwhile, our city revenue is relatively the same as was in years prior. We have reserves on hand, but at the current rate we’re going and with the new expenses we face, we’re likely to use our reserves rather than save more in upcoming years. It’s also worth noting that we have a large loan for repairing our roads, so even though we do have reserves, we also have debt. We are not in the black and we need to find new revenue sources to get us there. I plan to explore (1) changing our current vehicle sticker fees into a more effective and enforceable form of revenue and (2) establishing guidelines and plans for better economic development in our commercial district.
Campaign Phone (859) 380-8261
Age 52
City/town Park Hills, Ky
Education/Degrees M Arch University of Kentucky
Community Involvement Kenton Conservancy Kenton County Mayors' Group Secretary Planning and Development Services of Kenton County; Management Board Member Leadership Northern Kentucky
Campaign Message United we stand, divided we fall.
My family and I moved to Park Hills, and made it our home, in 2012. Four years ago, I was elected as a write in candidate for Mayor to serve our community. This fall, I have elected to run for City Council, as I remain committed to, and am passionate about serving our incredibly beautiful and diverse city. I believe that serving in local government is an important way, among many, to give back. I also believe that we, as Americans, have a civic responsibility to serve our community and country where and how we can. I have been honored to serve as mayor and am excited to utilize the skills and knowledge I have gained over the past four years, to continue to make our city the most livable and beautiful city in Northern Kentucky.

My greatest strength is my unbridled commitment to collaborating. Park Hills deserves the very best municipal practices and policies. Over the past four years as Mayor, I strove to build relationships with our residents, fellow elected officials, public service professionals, and scores of engaged community leaders. Currently, I am a Board Member on the Kenton Conservancy, Secretary of The Kenton County Mayors’ Group, a two term member of the Planning and Developments Services of Kenton County’s Management Board, and graduated from Leadership Northern Kentucky. I was awarded the “Level I- Achievement in City Government” by the Kentucky League of Cities after completing more than 30 hours of coursework. I will challenge all city elected officials to pledge to attend these vital KLC local governance courses. I truly relished the privilege of serving as our City’s Chief Executive Officer and look forward to serving as a legislator- to continue the great work we've started.
Park Hills operates on the slimmest of budgetary margins and there aren’t services the city can cut painlessly. As Mayor, I have collaborated with the Financial Oversight Committee and Council, to tirelessly reduce our operational costs to provide the basic services and amenities our community needs. The largest fiscal challenge for cities across the Commonwealth, is the ever-increasing mandatory State pension liability. Cities with limited revenue streams will face tough decisions about the services they can afford to provide. Residents continue to support our Police and Volunteer Fire Departments as vital community services; I will continue to work to ensure we can maintain those services. I also support our OpenGov platform. This is a secure web portal that gives residents open and transparent access to City business, budgets, and documents 24/7. This is an investment in transparency. I pledge to maintain the collaborative process that we’ve achieved over the past 4 years.
The combined taxes Park Hills charges its residents and businesses falls near the middle of the rates cities charge countywide; we have struck that critical balance – between what is fair vs. what is too high. Over the past 4 years, I have worked to maintain the same tax rates to pay for our services, and in 2018, Park Hills benefitted fiscally from increased PVA property values and new home construction. Despite this positive trend, our economic growth is forecast to be outpaced by our increased mandatory State pension obligations and the expected operational cost increases. The City must continue to critically evaluate its tax structure in order to generate the revenues needed to cover our municipal expenses, for example, the “Vehicle Sticker Fee”, is a tax we need to abolish or replace with a more equitable collections method. If elected, I will continue to work to ensure that Park Hills receives the highest value from the tax dollars we collect, as I accomplished as Mayor.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Campaign Phone (859) 468-2835
Age 46
City/town Park Hills, KY
Education/Degrees Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota
Community Involvement Active member of St. Agnes Church
Campaign Message A better experience for Park Hills
The Park Hills city council has been mostly unchanged for the last eight years and has developed some bad habits regarding managing the city's finances, taking care of our infrastructure, and engaging with residents. Park Hills residents deserve a better experience, and this can only come about with some different perspectives and new ideas on city council.
I am an eighteen-year resident of Park Hills with two decades of experience working as an engineer for various companies, and I have come to recognize patterns of communication and management that work and don't work. In my first term on city council, I have worked tirelessly on the Communications and Infrastructure Committees, overseeing the relaunch of the city's website and newsletter and developing a more methodical approach to maintaining and improving our streets and sidewalks. I look forward to improving the city's financial transparency in my next term and sharing my experience with other new members of council.
I believe that Park Hills provides a well-balanced portfolio of services and amenities at a good value to residents. While I am always interested in finding opportunities to save taxpayers money, I do not see any specific services that are not earning their keep. We have a lean, hardworking staff of city employees and lots of volunteers working behind the scenes to keep our city safe and beautiful.

Nobody likes to think about tax increases, myself included. We've enjoyed the same property tax rate for 11 years in a row, since President Obama took office. But the cost of our essential public safety services is increasing sharply. Just this year, the cost of our emergency life support services and pension obligations has increased by tens of thousands of dollars, and our police and fire departments are rolling out a new digital radio system costing over $100,000. Many of these increases are permanent and will continue to rise. All options should be on the table for ensuring the city has a balanced budget, including setting the property tax at the "compensating rate plus 4%", which would result in an increase of about $5-10/year for most residents and cover the cost increase of our ambulance service. Other options include improved enforcement of our vehicle fee and revisiting the franchise fees we charge to utility companies to grant them access to the city's right of way.
Campaign Phone (859) 429-1924
Age 40
City/town Park Hills
Education/Degrees University of Cincinnati, Archbishop Moeller High School
Campaign Message Building Momentum for Park Hills
I believe in Park Hills’ success and want to work towards its future.

I value open and transparent dialogue in my personal and business life and I have brought those same values into my public service life. I have actively worked to create an open environment that encourages communication and transparency between Council and residents.

You don’t run a small business for over a decade without knowing the value of civility. I work cordially with other members of Council and the Mayor – we are one team working to better serve the citizens of Park Hills and ensure our city’s prosperous future.

I worked hard to convince others on the council that borrowing for multiple deep road fixes at once would put us in an unfavorable debt position, long-term. That debt burden will make maintaining our roads difficult.

I've worked hand-in-hand with PDS to review and update zoning and ordinances to preserve Park Hills identity while promoting smart growth on Dixie Highway.
I really enjoy the urban planning aspects of being on City Council. Our city, our residents and businesses are part of a larger eco-system. We are a small and proud city, but we are part of a large community and we have to be part of the region to succeed. I’m passionate about making a city a place that makes people healthy, happy and safe, things that sometimes get lost when a city is solely chasing tax dollars.
Look at our city's budget and you'll find the biggest expenditure is our deep road fixes.

We need to repair and rebuild as two separate work streams. If we do not maintain and repair roads we are left having to rebuild them, what you have heard called ‘deep fixes’. We can’t keep getting multi-million dollar loans – so we have to plan and budget for ongoing maintenance and repairs.

I will continue to plan for future road projects and maintenance rather than doing “deep fixes” after the fact. Our citizens deserve good roads and without a comprehensive plan that property owners can support, we won’t get there.

I will continue to find ways to maintain or decrease our current expenses while looking for new ways to increase our overall income. That is the only way to keep taxes as low as possible.

As an independent business owner located in a small city, I have firsthand experience with what makes small cities and small business viable. I will apply that lens to help Council make the best decisions for all residents and businesses. No one wants to raise personal taxes, so we need to make the Dixie Corridor more attractive to businesses.

Healthy and profitable businesses help their community in many ways. Businesses typically pay at least three times the taxes of residents. Businesses bring potential new residents to our great city who would not visit otherwise. And good corporate citizens support events and charities along with helping to plant and maintain our trees and greenways. We need to help our Dixie Highway business corridor thrive and attract new businesses.
Campaign Phone (513) 403-7222
Age 55
City/town Park Hills
Education/Degrees Bachelors Degree, NKU
Community Involvement Board, Holly Hill Child & Family Solutions Board, NKU College of Informatics Alumni
Campaign Message Divisiveness has no place in Park Hills.
I grew up, got married and raised my kids in Park Hills. But great cities like ours require a mixture of tradition and forward thinking to remain strong and viable. I believe I have the skills and temperament to strike this balance.
I will always be well informed on every issue. I will vote based on facts, not personal feelings. I will always be available to citizens and treat them with respect.
I am not out to cut any services.
I don't plan on raising fees or taxes.
Campaign Phone (859) 640-6929
Age 64
City/town Park Hills
Education/Degrees BA from NKU JD Chase College of Law
Community Involvement 16 years Village Green and volunteer service caring for Trolley Park 8 years on Park Hills City Council 7 years Board of Behringer Crawford Museum
Campaign Message Preserve, protect and prosper Park Hills
I love Park Hills and want to serve our city. I am a long time resident. My grandparents lived on St. Joseph Lane where my mother grew up. I greatly value the people, the beauty, the history, and the potential of Park Hills. I have skills in finance and law that I believe provide real value to our city.
I am experienced in service to the city and in finance which is a critical part of keeping our city healthy. I am committed to keeping our taxes low so that families and businesses can have more of their money. I will work hard to preserve what is unique and beautiful about our city. I have a track record of keeping expenses down. I support keeping our excellent police and fire service in Park Hills - I do not want to buy this essential service from another city . This gives us the best service and allows us to control our budget. I will listen to our residents and try to accomplish what they need. That doesn't mean that I will always be able to deliver or that I will always agree, but I will always listen and try to be of help. I do not have a private agenda. I just want Park Hills to be preserved, protected and to prosper.
None.
The short answer is none. I am not in favor of raising taxes. I also am opposed to a tax for the city on the resident/business Duke Energy bill. I think this tax would be a burden on residents, our schools and businesses. It would grow with every rate increase. I think we need to live within our means. If there are better and more effective ways to collect taxes, they should be considered. Our current financial picture is sound. We are saving money for future capital needs.
Age 48
City/town Park Hills, KY
Education/Degrees BS, Anthropology & Archaeology, NKU; Holy Cross High School graduate
Community Involvement Active member of St. Agnes Parish, Freestore Foodbank, Hoxworth donor, and Cincinnati Zoo Keeper’s Circle member
Campaign Message PRESERVE, PROTECT, PARTNER
I’ve attended our City Council meetings regularly for over 2 years, and have been observing and participating in them. I believe we have the opportunity to be more focused on my key areas: Preserving the unique charm of the city, Preserving our finances, Protecting our citizens by keeping our Fire and Police here in Park Hills, and by Partnering with each other (and local businesses) in a respectful manner. I have a passion for making things better, and I care a great deal for this city and community. My wife and I have lived here for 7 years, and plan on many more. We are raising our two daughters here and they attend St. Agnes school.
I have over two decades of leadership and management experience with 3 different Financial Services companies, all of whom are in the Fortune 300. My knowledge of finance and investments, and my leadership & management experience give me the business acumen that’s needed to be on City Council. I have a passion for making things better, and for taking on new challenges. I’m committed to managing our budget, keeping the charm of the city, ensuring Police and Fire are supported, and also partnering and collaborating broadly, which includes our local business community. My skillset and leadership experience are unique among the 2018 candidates, and will make a difference for our citizens and government effectiveness.
None. We should be able to manage our budget appropriately to keep our current services.
We need to keep a close eye on upcoming expenses that may be larger than in prior years, such as pension payments and road repairs. I’m against raising taxes on our citizens. However, we are not collecting all the taxes that the city is due today, such as vehicle stickers. We need to ensure we are collecting the appropriate taxes now to be prepared for the future. Going forward, we must be financially stable. We also need to retain and attract businesses along Dixie Highway to help with our tax base, and to make Park Hills an enjoyable place to visit and to live. I believe we can partner better with our business community.
If you need any help as a candidate, please email Carl Weiser at cweiser@enquirer.com