Miami Twp. voters choose: Incumbents or new faces for trustee, fiscal officer

Culp faces challenge from Short in trustee race; Clingerman will be tested by Matthews in election for fiscal officer

Miami Twp. residents will get to vote in two township government races in the November election, each of them pitting an incumbent against a challenger.

Miami Twp. Trustee Don Culp, who is a program manager at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, will face off against Michael Short, general manager of Butler Asphalt and division manager of SK Construction Company, in a race for the one trustee seat on the ballot.

Short said he’s been in the township for seven years and opted to run because he wants to give back to the community. Culp, a 30-year resident of the township, said he’s running for re-election after being in office since 2018 because there’s “a lot left to do” in the township, especially the redevelopment of vacant properties in and around the Dayton Mall.

Culp, who earned bachelor’s degrees in aerospace engineering and French from Iowa State University, voted against measures that allowed an auto dealer to demolish a shuttered multiplex near the mall and build a new dealership in its place.

“You can drive through any large city and see abandoned auto dealerships,” he said. “When those auto dealerships are abandoned, like I believe this one will be, they are almost impossible to repurpose. Yet the owners, for good reason — they’ve got investments in it — they don’t let go of it.”

Culp said the township’s zoning code didn’t allow for such a edifice and the township’s plan for redeveloping the area didn’t include it.

“Auto dealerships in the middle of an area where you’re trying to redevelop are bad ideas,” he said. “It’s just that simple.”

That stands in stark contrast to Short, who said he believes the township should allow such development.

“I would rather have seen a retailer come in there, but at the same time, I would rather not sit around and wait for that to happen, so it’s a little bit of a Catch-22,” Short said. “I’m happy that a business came in there. If we were to push them away, we could be waiting for years for a retailer to come in there.”

Culp said another priority is removal of the low dam.

“Individuals have lost their lives down there on that low dam, and emergency responders have lost their life when they’re in trying to save people caught up in the low dam. These dams serve no purpose and they’re a risk to our community when we’re trying to convert our river into a safe recreational option.”

The fact that those deaths took place decades ago does not make the low dam any less dangerous, Culp said.

Short said the low dam is “very low” on his priority list.

“To me that would be taking our tax money and throwing it right in that river,” he said. “As far as priorities go, we need roads, infrastructure, paving a lot more than we need to tear down that low-level dam and rechannel the river..”

“I don’t think there’s that many Miami Twp. residents that even know there’s a low-level dam down there or care,” Short said. “They want to see their road paved.”

Culp said speeding up the road resurfacing schedule can be done by transferring tax dollars not needed elsewhere in the current fiscal year.

Fiscal officer

The race for a spot as Miami Twp. fiscal officer is between Greg Clingerman and Bob Matthews.

Clingerman, a 35-year resident of the township, was appointed to the role in January following the resignation of the township’s former fiscal officer. Matthews, was elected as a township trustee in 2013, but resigned in late March 2017 to avoid any potential conflict of interest after accepting a job with Frost Brown Todd, LLC, a firm with whom the township contracts.

Clingerman said running for the fiscal officer role is ”kind of like I’ve been building this ship and the last thing I want to do is abandon it,” he said. “I want to keep steering it in the right direction.”

Clingerman said he’ll keep searching for ways to maximize the township’s financial portfolio after discovering at least two accounts that had low-yielding interest rates. And he’ll meet with the financial entities that are entrusted with the township’s money.

“As far as expenses ... I’ve gone over that with a fine-tooth comb and made sure the purchase orders aren’t just habitually put out there because they’ve always been out there,” Clingerman said. “It’s like hey, let’s question some of the people we’re dealing with, right?”

Clingerman, a 13-year senior financial planner at Transamerica Financial Advisors, earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Miami University, and an MBA from the University of Dayton.

“Once I get the investment portfolios where I want them, and there is still a little more tweaking to do ... at the bank, I want to work on cash flow, focus more on operational expenses,” he said. “They’ve just been kind of on auto pilot.”



Matthews said that if elected, he would bring his strong and current accounting, project management, and information technology skills “to improve and optimize” every aspect of townships projects and costs.

“I think that we can be more effective at spending our money as a township,” said Matthews, who has lived in the township for 16 years, but resided in the Dayton area for approximately 50 years.

Matthews, who earned a master’s of computer science from Texas A&M University and minored in mathematics, said he’s been involved with information technology and project management for most of his career,

He said a strong IT background helps him watch out for those things like hacking and ransomware and be proactive “rather than trying to put the pieces together after Humpty Dumpty falls.”

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