Newcomer, three veterans run for two Clearcreek Twp. trustee seats

A political newcomer and three veteran trustees are running for two of three seats on the Clearcreek Twp. board of trustees in the Nov. 5 election.

Steve Muterspaw, a businessman and former teacher, is in his first political campaign, against Dale Lamb — a former long-time trustee — and incumbent trustees Cathy Anspach and Ed Wade.

If re-elected, Wade, who operates a local insurance agency, would serve his 10th term on the board. Lamb, a trustee for 23 years who did not seek re-election two years ago, is running for what would be his sixth term.

Calling for change, Anspach and Muterspaw have made this a key issue in their campaigns.

“People have been in there for a lot of years,” Muterspaw said. “You need fresh perspectives.”

Elected four years ago, Anspach said, “It’s time to let somebody else take over the reins.”

Wade and Lamb see their experience as an asset.

Both have served as trustees while the previously rural township’s population passed 16,000, and residential and commercial development continued, particularly along Ohio 48.

An $8.2 million road relocation in Red Lion, a small town in the township, between Springboro and Lebanon, has opened up more than 500 acres of farm land for residential and commercial development.

“I’ve seen the township grow,” Wade said. “I have something to continue to offer because of that history.”

Lamb continued to attend meetings even after leaving the board three years ago. “I’m up to date on all the issues,” he said.

Muterspaw is endorsed by the Conservative Republican Leadership Council. He pledged to bring fiscal conservatism to the board of trustees.

“I want to stop unnecessary spending,” he said.

In July, the trustees postponed plans to seek a continuing 4.5 mill property tax levy expected to raise an additional $4.4 million a year for fire district expenses in the upcoming election.

Voters rejected the issue in May, prompting staff cuts for the district, which handles ambulance and fire protection in Springboro and the township. The trustees then agreed to dip into more than $10 million in reserve funds to staff the department’s three stations- at least temporarily.

“They can operate on the budget they have,” Anspach said. “I believe our wants far outweigh our needs.”

While supporting careful spending, Lamb said that although the township can fund some fire expenses with general funds, higher levels of service were traditionally funded through special-purpose levies.

“The majority of the funds managed by Clearcreek have been earmarked by the voters and statutes for specific uses,” he said in a response in the Dayton Daily News Voters Guide.”Every trustee needs to understand these limitations in setting priorities for both spending and cuts.”

Lamb wants to continue developing existing parks, including Patricia Allyn Park on Ohio 48 and possibly Harbaugh Park on Springboro Road.

Lamb and Wade both pledged to work to provide basic services and market the potential for economic development tied to the Lebanon Terminal, a complex in the township where a range of gasoline and natural gas products are available for distribution.

In addition, Lamb and Wade both maintain they have followed open meetings law despite claims in a lawsuit still pending in Warren County Common Pleas Court that they met with Administrator Dennis Pickett before going into regular session before Lamb left office in 2011.

“All it was was an information meeting. There was never any votes taken,” Lamb said.

Muterspaw and Anspach, who is siding with the plaintiffs in the public meetings lawsuit, both pledged to work for transparency.

In addition to legal costs, Muterspaw said the lawsuit leaves residents with a lack of assurance that their local government was acting in their best interests.

“Our taxpayers deserve to have the assurance that the business of the township is for the benefit of the citizens, not the trustees themselves and their friends,” he said in a Voters Guide response.

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