West Carrollton council candidates focus on business growth

ajc.com

The race for four open spots on the West Carrollton City Council is between five candidates who say the community’s economic growth is one of their primary concerns.

Incumbents Richard Barnhart, Harold Robinson and Amanda Zennie are up against challengers Richard Dobson and Keith Tilton. Only three names will be printed on the ballot (Barnhart, Zennie and Tilton), as Dobson and Robinson are write-in candidates.

Richard Barnhart
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Richard Barnhart

Richard Barnhart

Barnhart, who is employed by Staybridge Suites Austin Landing, is seeking re-election to council “to continue to work at bringing new businesses and recreational activities to the city.”

“I have been working for the citizens since 1982 and continue to work at improving the city’s tax base, business opportunities and recreational opportunities,” he told this news outlet. "

His top three priorities for another term include creating new business opportunities, creating new recreational opportunities to attract new residents and building up the city’s tax base.

“The plan continues to be establishing an area that is desirable for new businesses, new residents and current residents,” he said. “We accomplish this through tailored land acquisitions and attracting specific businesses.”

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He said voters should elect him because he has worked hard for West Carrollton’s betterment since 1982 in different positions and will continue to work hard for improvements in the city.

Harold Robinson
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Harold Robinson

Harold Robinson

Robinson, who is self-employed at Camelot Printing Consultants and works part-time for the Salvation Army, is running as a write-in candidate because of missing a filing deadline for petitions. He’s lived in West Carrollton for 45 years, serving four years on the West Carrollton Planning Commission and 16 years on the West Carrollton School Board.

Robinson said he is seeking re-election to city council because he enjoys serving the community and “because I believe I have been a positive influence where I have served in the past and I will continue doing so.”

He said two of his primary goals are economic development in specific areas, building on “wise investments in land acquisitions.” One area is from Interstate 75, exit 47, west toward the middle school, developing the city’s own Riverscape with a bypass of the low dam for boaters, kayaking and water activities, plus retail, residential and entertainment development along that corridor. The other is the area of the volleyball complex and east.

Robinson said wants to ensure that American Recovery Plan money is spent wisely, citing a plan to spend on street repair and other postponed infrastructure.

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Amanda Zennie
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Amanda Zennie

Amanda Zennie

Zennie, who has worked as clerk of court for the Miamisburg Municipal Court since 2016, is a lifelong resident of West Carrollton. She said she is running for re-election because she enjoys serving the community and being a part of making decisions that will be beneficial for residents and businesses now and in the future.

“My priorities are economic development, budget and ensuring we are moving forward to make West Carrollton a destination location,” Zennie told this news outlet. “We have regular meetings and I am also on several committees to ensure city staff is continuing to work towards our comprehensive plan. City staff keeps council very involved in their efforts to secure funds for projects and work being done to attract people and businesses to our community.”

She said she believes she’s the best candidate for the job because she has a passion to see West Carrollton grow and prosper.

“In the four years I’ve served I have learned so much about city structure and budgeting,” she said. “Hopefully the voters will let me continue to represent them with professionalism.”

Richard Dobson

Dobson, a marketing and sales representative, said he is running for office as a write-in candidate to help preserve and improve the community. “I believe a new person will bring different thoughts and ideas to the table, specifically a non-politician,” he said.

If elected, his top three priorities would be bringing in new business, improving infrastructure and improving city and boosting citizen communication. He said each is necessary to the success of the community.

“I will seek out developers and corporations to see how West Carrollton’s location and land availability might fit future growth and development,” Dobson said. “I will work with council and city management to develop a plan to attract business to West Carrollton.”

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Dobson, a West Carrollton resident since 1984, said voters should consider him over his competition because of his being “a successful business owner and not a politician.”

“However, I have worked with hundreds of politicians and am familiar with the political climate,” he said. “I am compassionate about my support and commitment to the West Carrollton community, police, fire and schools.”

Keith Tilton

Tilton, a firefighter/paramedic for Washington Twp., was asked by the League of Women Voters to name the two most challenging issues facing the city of West Carrollton. He said “the biggest change that has been facing West Carrollton for many years is getting and keeping businesses.”

“The city does not have a good reputation when it comes to supporting and working with businesses,” Tilton said. “We need to recruit new and unique businesses that will attract people to the city. My motivation to run for office is because of the continual growth of neighboring communities while West Carrollton remains stagnant.”

He also detailed his priorities for spending West Carrollton’s share of the American Recovery Plan funds.

“The highest priority is the safety of the city’s employees. They should have equipment and supplies that protect them,” he said. “Secondly the funds should be used for overtime to cover any employee that is ill or quarantined. Thirdly the money should be used to reimburse any cost due to the pandemic. Finally, if there are funds left over, work with local businesses to offer help..”

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