Four candidates are vying for three Miamisburg City Council at-large seats this year in a race that includes two incumbents and a pair of challengers.
Current at-large Councilwoman Michelle Collins opted against seeking a second term and is running unopposed to replace retiring Mayor Dick Church Jr.. Jeff Nestor and Alyse Rettich seek first terms while Ryan Colvin and Greg Thompson hope for re-election.
The three victors on Nov. 5 will win four-year terms to represent the entire city and be paid $10,640 annually. The city is near completion on a $70 million water and sewer system overhaul, a five-year project financed by annual customer rate hikes.
The project, approved by city council, addressed several Ohio Environmental Protection Agency mandates. But it caused many residents to question rising utility bills that, city officials said, had remained artificially low for decades.
Development has also become a concern in the areas of Benner/Miamisburg-Springboro roads. Plans are in the works for two residential proposals that would bring more than 300 new homes that area residents said would raise safety, traffic and environmental risks.
The three candidates voters pick next month will face a myriad of issues, among them continuing to attract interest in downtown redevelopment, and maintaining aging neighborhoods while luring enough new jobs and development to support basic services such as police, fire, roads and bridges.
The following are snapshots on all four candidates that include responses to questions submitted by the Dayton Daily News:
Colvin, 42, is a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court bailiff and a three-term councilman. He said Miamisburg’s biggest challenges are maintaining services, keeping a strong local economy and combating the heroin epidemic.
Colvin advocates “working cooperatively with neighboring communities and … further exploring the sharing of services.” Miamisburg’s tax-sharing agreements with Miami Twp. regarding Austin Landing and surrounding land, as well as the Miami Crossing area around the Dayton Mall, is projected to generated millions of dollars for the city.
The city and the township also share the Miami Valley Fire District. The consolidation, officials on both sides have said, has saved millions of dollars and the district is operating at 2009 budget levels.
Meanwhile, Colvin favors the city’s practice of giving businesses tax deals to move to or stay in Miamisburg, saying the local economy must “continue to provide the needed revenue to support our critical services.”
He also supports the city having hired more police officers and use of partnerships with regional treatment providers to curb drug issues.
The city’s water and sewer overhaul — because of unfunded EPA mandates — was “the most difficult piece of legislation that I have considered” on council.
But “constituents I spoke with were heavily in favor” of the move, he said.
Nestor, 66, operates an insurance business in Miamisburg that has been family-owned since 1962. The first-time elective office seeker sees the most challenging issues for Miamisburg as safety, fiscal responsibility and infrastructure.
He sees his business experience with handling budgets and his knowledge of the city by being involved in a number of community organizations as strengths for his candidacy.
He supports “reasonable, fiscally responsible programs that upgrade and maintain our infrastructure.”
The city’s utility-system overhaul put Miamisburg ahead of an issue facing “the entire region,” Nestor said.
But he said effective communication with customers is essential and he endorses the city rolling out a new program to deal with late customer payments.
“Adding email along with text messaging is clearly a good path to follow to include all customers in communications,” he said. “Further, continued efforts to help customers identify leaks mid-billing will reduce waste and unwanted excessive bills.”
Growth in undeveloped areas “needs to be tempered with wise development strategies,” he said.
“A mix of business helps isolate us from economic downturns,” Nestor added, “while new homes add to the housing market and helps keep our area relevant and thriving.”
Rettich, 28, is a Montgomery County assistant prosecutor who has not held elective office. She said the city’s water and sewer system overhaul, unnecessary spending, and the drug epidemic curbing crime are among the most significant issues facing Miamisburg.
Rettich said the city’s new utility infrastructure “is burdening citizens” and a flexible billing system for water services would help alleviate that issue.
She mentioned “keeping our citizens safe from violent crimes and property crimes that are impacting most towns and cities in Ohio” as part of the effort to combat the opioid issue.
The city has worked with the Montgomery County Drug Free Coalition and the county’s Getting Recovery Options Working program aimed rehabilitating addicts, according to police.
From 2014 to 2016, the city recorded 37 drug overdose deaths, 10 coming in that final year, records show. Overdose deaths then peaked in 2017 with 26, 20 of them in the first six months, according to the city. While OD deaths have dropped since, opioids remain a concern.
Monitoring growth in undeveloped areas such as Benner and Miamisburg-Springboro should be handled with “close contact with citizens. There is a need to really hear and address (their) concerns,” Rettich said.
Thompson, 40, is an operations manager of a pharmaceutical company and has served eight years on city council.
Notable challenges Miamisburg faces, he said, are prioritizing taxpayer dollars, continuing to focus on economic development with both current and future businesses, and continue neighborhood revitalization.
A key to the neighborhood issue is the Community Action for Revitalization, Engagement & Sustainability (CARES), a city-initiated program designed to engage citizens, community to improve neighborhoods and deter crime.
“It is our responsibility to maintain a high level of public safety, offer recreational options, improve infrastructure, and complete projects to make the city better,” according to Thompson.
“All of these cost money and the biggest challenge will be allocating those dollars judiciously,” he said.
The city’s strategic plan – developed with residents’ input – asked Miamisburg leaders to create additional housing, Thompson said.
The planning commission is “diligent” that the new subdivisions off Benner and Miamisburg-Springboro “meet specific standards and complement the housing inventory that we already have in place,” he said.
“The two new neighborhoods will be well-constructed houses and will be attractive to a families, professionals and retirees.”
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