Miami Twp. trustee race centers on guiding growth, improving services

Miami Twp. FILE
Caption
Miami Twp. FILE

The race for two Miami Twp. trustee seats is focusing on encouraging growth — especially around the Dayton Mall area — improving township services and ensuring fiscal responsibility.

Candidates include incumbents John Morris and Terry Posey Jr. and challengers John Gomez and Bob Matthews.

John Morris

Morris, who was elected as trustee in 2017, is the CEO for Ohio Valley Construction Education Foundation and president of the Montgomery County Association of Township Officials. He has lived with his wife and two sons in the area for the past 23 years.

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Morris said public safety through outstanding police and fire departments will be his top priority.

“In the past four years, we’ve added more officers and given them the equipment they need like body cameras to protect the rights of citizens and officers,” he said. “In the next year, ongoing funding of the fire department will be a major discussion and negotiation between the township and city of Miamisburg.”

Morris said other priorities include ensuring as much investment into neighborhoods as the budget can take without raising taxes. “We will continue to improve our parks and get more roads repaved,” he said. “A lot has been accomplished in the past four years, including some projects that had sat unfinished since the 1970s. There is a lot more work to be done.”

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He also said having safety and outstanding neighborhoods and services will generate economic development opportunities as businesses seek to hire employees and attract local residents, he said.

“Some say they are “worried” about the Dayton Mall or losing corporate jobs,” Morris said. “A trustee should not try and pick and choose winners in the business sector. That’s what the free market is all about.”

If re-elected trustee, Morris said he will put the newly created Neighborhood Investment Fund to its best use.

“Under my leadership, we are depositing $3 million to $5 million dollars into this account,” he said. “We will partner with other communities and write grants to grow the account even larger. These dollars will buy additional police and fire equipment, upgrades to parks and road repairs. We might invest in businesses, workers, housing or non-profits. This fund will allow me to impact each of my three main priority areas.”

Terry Posey Jr.

Posey, who was appointed to the Miami Twp. Board of Trustees in January 2020 to fill a vacant term that expires in 2022, is a litigation partner with Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP. He has lived in the township for 10 years with his wife and their two dogs.

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He said the most pressing issue in the township is “preparing for prosperity.”

“First, we must maximize the use of American Rescue Plan Funds, which will allow us to upgrade vital community services, and to assist businesses in bringing back jobs to reinvigorate our economy,” he said. “We have announced a Community Innovation Fund designed to solicit community and business input on how best to use the American Rescue Plan funds, to leverage these one-time dollars with no local tax impact to the community. Those plans are underway.”

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Posey said another priority of his would be revitalizing the park system, improving the access to Miami Twp.’s public parks, updating amenities for all to enjoy and inspiring township residents to enjoy the outdoors. He said he and his fellow trustees have reactivated the dormant Parks Board, which he said will help guide the maintenance and future development of the outdoor resources within Miami Township.

He said he also believes ensuring the stability and success of the Dayton Mall area is a vital component of the Miami Twp. agenda, given the economic anchor the area provides.

That’s why he has supported the development of collaborative studies on appropriate redevelopment of the underutilized assets of the Dayton Mall, Posey said.

“With these three priorities, our community will not only survive into the next decades, but be a thriving hub for citizens to enjoy and businesses to provide good-paying jobs,” Posey said.

John Gomez

Gomez, a staff assistant for U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot since February, previously served as his campaign’s political director starting in April 2020. He also performs consulting for Ohio political campaigns. Gomez has lived in the township since 2018.

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Credit: DAN CLEARY

He said top priority as a trustee must be addressing the economic future of the township, including solving the problems at Austin Landing, ensuring a successful future for the former LexisNexis property and helping the Dayton Mall and surrounding area by taking an aggressive approach to bringing new businesses and attractions to the area.

That approach, Gomez said, includes cutting “overly burdensome regulations, streamlining operations and lowering tax burdens.”

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“We cannot let the Dayton Mall become the Salem Mall,” he said. “The future of the mall is not in brick-and-mortar retail. Instead, we must do all that we can to bring businesses and establishments that are both unique and economically sustainable. We must make the Dayton Mall a destination again.”

Gomez, who is a member of the Miami Township Zoning Commission, said he would address growth by directing township staffers to be directed to actively recruit new businesses and business expansions.

He said his other priorities include addressing address wasteful spending front by calling for a performance audit of the township to uncover areas where it can cut excessive spending and streamline its operations. That, he said, would allow the township to decrease its tax burden and pave the way for cutting taxes for residents. It will also allow Miami Twp. to reallocate resources to help it more effectively reach its goals, he said.

Another priority is repairing and repaving as many local roads as many roads as possible, without raising taxes.

“We will pursue partnerships with other local governments and private enterprise to lower our costs and maximize the number of roads we are able to repair per year,” he said. “We will also pursue obtaining funding from a variety of other sources.”

Bob Matthews

Matthews, a former Miami Township trustee, has lived in Miami Twp. for more than 16 years with his wife. He said the two children they raised are now working in the health care industry, as is Matthews.

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Credit: DAN CLEARY

First elected to the board of trustees in 2013, Matthews resigned in March 2017 to avoid any potential conflict of interest once he started a position at a law firm. He told this news outlet he is running for office again to “complete the job I started in my earlier term.”

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Matthews said his top priorities are “parks, pavement and police.”

“I would be sure that all 10 parks get funding, as opposed to just one park getting half a million dollars as the current trustees are planning,” Matthews said, emphasizing that the funding would be equal for each park. “I would be get the bad roads resurfaced, not just have the potholes filled, because it’s so important that the roads look good. If you want your house value to go up, you need the roads good.”

Matthews said he realizes there has been talk in recent months about defunding police in various communities across the U.S. He said he, in contrast, is “a strong supporter of the police.”

He also said that if elected trustee he would work to reduce township debt, determine how to use unused land to generate revenue for the township and meet community needs and figure out a way to strengthen Miami Twp.’s relationship with Miamisburg, which he believes has deteriorated.

“When I was there, we had frequent meetings with Miamisburg, joint sessions with them on different things and because they’re part of the township and because we share services such as fire, we need to come up with ways to make sure we have a good, strong working relationship,” Matthews said. “And not just a relationship that’s amicable, but one where we actually strengthen each other and encourage each other to do more and better things. You don’t see any of that now.”

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