4 candidates vying to be Washington Twp. trustee

Washington Twp. residents will get to choose between four candidates this November for one available seat on the township’s board of trustees.

Vying for the spot are Scott Colwell, David Cordonnier, Brian Lunne and Keith Weiskittle. The victor will replace outgoing trustee Dale Berry, who was appointed to the board in January 2009 and elected in November 2009.

Credit: RAM Photo

Credit: RAM Photo

Scott Colwell

Colwell, a regional director for a major defense firm supporting Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, served on Washington Twp. Board of Zoning Appeals since 2019 and has been a board member of the Centerville Washington Foundation as well.

Colwell said voters should cast a ballot for him because he went from supporting causes that saw him “a voice in the crowd in opposition,” including fighting fought Centerville’s attempts to annex parts of the township in 2008, being on the board of zoning appeals 15 years later.

“So I feel I’ve got the experience for both the person who’s concerned about the situation, as well as I can appreciate the person who’s having to make the decision that impacts everyone,” he said. “I’m also the candidate that has fought for the township as well as fought for the citizens when it came to zoning issues in the past.”

David Cordonnier

Cordonnier works as the annual fund coordinator at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, but prior to that served as district director to Congressman Troy Balderson and was senior legislative aide to former State Senator Peggy Lehner.

“Throughout my career I’ve enjoyed serving others and helping constituents navigate their government to positive outcomes,” he said. “I plan to use my unique experience and fresh perspective to move our community forward.”

Brian Lunne

Lunne has been on the township’s Zoning Commission since 2019. He also has owned a Kettering-based landscaping company for more than 30 years. That experience, he said, has been imbued him with the ability to make tough decisions quickly and to make an effort to be careful at the same time.

“In my experience, in my background in landscaping and construction, I understand the entire development process,” he said.

Keith Weiskittle

Weiskittle is the executive director of the Centerville-Washington Twp. Americana Festival, the single largest one-day festival in Ohio. He also had a 33-year professional career, which included being director of operations for CareSource, senior vice president of operations for PNC Bank, director of data services for Reynolds & Reynolds and director of operations for Miami Valley Hospital.

He said those decades of experience make him a good candidate for township trustee and put him in a position to help make a positive difference in the community. Weiskittle also said his father served as a volunteer fireman for more than six decades, 10 of them as chief, and was elected fiscal officer for a local township for about 30 years, “so serving is something that was kind of drilled into me from the very beginning in my small town,” he said.

Cordonnier said the No. 1 challenge for him to tackle if elected trustee is property tax increases.

“Townships only have so much impact on what that property valuation is,” he said. “There’s a lot of markets driving that, but what we can do is be good stewards of those dollars and be really good, forward-thinking, proactive planners, and the services we provide the community.”

Lunne said that “the increase in taxes for everyone,” including property taxes and additional levies, is one of the challenges that sits atop the biggest challenges all area communities are facing.

“You add that in with inflation, it’s making living in Washington Twp., in really any city, harder to do. It’s not affordable,” he said. “So we’ve got to figure out a way that we can maintain strong services, police, fire, public service, and even schools and ... public parks and libraries and all that within the parameters so that we don’t just constantly go back to voters asking for more money


Weiskittle said one of the biggest challenges facing the township is to have voters realize that the township has their best interests at heart and is spending their tax dollars wisely.

“If you go to the (township’s) website, you can see ... where money’s been spent, but I still think there’s a communication gap,” he said. “I think there could be opportunities for increased engagement, for communication and for education. There are opportunities to have townhall meetings and opportunities for folks to be encouraged to come to trustee meetings to kind of sit and learn and to voice their thoughts and concerns.”

Colwell said numerous challenge facing the township could be solved with an all-out effort to have the township and Centerville officials work on issues together.

“They’re both doing things, but in a lot of ways, I’m not sure they’re communicating the way they should, and looking for ways to make this better for everyone,” he said. “I may not have the answer, but I want to help facilitate getting the right people in the room to help come up with that answer.”

As Washington Twp. has grown, so has the amount and sometimes the density of its housing options, making it a hot-button issue among residents.

Lunne said his work on the zoning commission has led him to prefer “a better use of infill developments with lesser density to stress the larger lot, less dense settings.”

“Most of the available land to develop on would be considered infill,” he said. “It’s located either in residential or commercial districts that will require rezoning and I would prefer a lower density infill, as would most of the residents.”

Weiskittle said the township needs to work on its affordable housing options.

“We need to make sure that we provide the infrastructure and the community development that’s needed to support that, but at the same time, we’ve got to balance that against the investments that residents have made to be here in Washington Twp.,” he said. “I don’t think those are mutually exclusive. I think they can be built together and make our township continue to be one of the best places to live, raise a family and work and eventually retire.”

Weiskittle said he also believes township trustees should work with Montgomery County, the city of Centerville and other adjacent communities to find ways to make it possible for homebuilders to build affordable houses.

Colwell said Washington Twp.’s and that the township has traditionally been two units per acre” for housing development standards” but housing is “hitting a critical mass.”

During the campaign, we have heard over and over again, not so much from the citizens but from the industry as ‘Look, the cost for entry for someone particularly being a first time homebuyer coming into the area, that threshold is pretty high,’” he said. “So to reduce it, the industry is recommending, ‘Hey, we’ve got to go (with) more higher-density development.’ In other words, five units per acre 10 units per acre and on up.

Trustees, he said, are going to need to reach out to the community and get the community’s buy-in for this next phase of development to ensure they are “doing right by all.”

“To me, it seems like higher density development should be closer to commercial versus kind of out-in-the-middle-of a-field type thing,” he said.

Cordonnier said talk of future housing growth is positive, but it’s especially important to help find solutions for seniors on fixed incomes.

“We’re seeing them priced out of their homes because of property tax rates increasing and property valuations going up, and ... what I want to do is what we’re seeing south of (Ohio) 48 ... where we’re talking about a potential downsizing option,” he said.

Just having those options in the community, both for seniors and for young families just starting out, should be part of the conversations had with potential developers to see if that is an idea that can be brought to fruition, Cordonnier said.

Replacement park levy on ballot

Also on the ballot this November will be a measure Centerville-Washington park board placed there: a 1.0-mill replacement levy.

If approved, the levy would replace a 0.9-mill levy set to expire in 2024, a measure that was originally approved by voters in 2004 and renewed in 2014.

The replacement levy will generate approximately $2 million in revenue, which will provide funding for facility upkeep, while adding various requested improvements, according to the park system. Homeowners would pay $35 a year per $100,000 of assessed home value, versus the $21.67 a year presently paid per $100,000 of assessed home value, the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office confirmed.

The park district’s primary source of revenue is from property tax levies provided by Centerville and Washington Twp. residents. It does not receive operating monies from the city of Centerville, Washington Twp., Montgomery County or Five Rivers MetroParks.

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