August 29, 2014

Elyria
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LAGRANGE TOWNSHIP — TRUSTEES

There are four candidates, including two incumbents,  seeking two positions as a LaGrange Township trustee.

What are the biggest issues facing your township?

Burnett: The No. 1 priority in the township is the fire and ambulance services. We are in charge of buying equipment, building buildings and getting people to operate it.
We also need to continue working on the township roads and drainage ditches.
We are always looking at growth. It’s not an issue here lately, obviously due to the economy everywhere, but we have to pay attention to where the township is heading and keep the zoning current.
Working with the village is always a priority. Together we’ve created a community park and community attraction with baseball games, soccer and football.
Canfield: Being able to continue managing our resources very carefully, intergovernmental relations between ourselves and with other state and local government levels, and the devaluation of property are the issues facing the township.
County Auditor Mark Stewart already has informed us there are some issues we are going to be facing. Since we can’t have an income tax as a township, our only source of income comes from state taxes and property taxes. With property valuations down, managing our resources becomes even more critical.
Moulder: The township is like any other form of government, whether it’s city, state or any other type. We’re all in a money crunch. Right now, it seems LaGrange Township is doing OK, but financial responsibility is the No. 1 issue.
As trustees, we have to have an interest in county and state government. We need to be up on what is happening with the county commissioners because they have a lot to do with the township.
For five years, I’ve attended zoning meetings and I’ve gone to many commissioners’ meetings. When they voted on the sales tax issue, I urged them to pass it if they set the money aside for law enforcement. We’ve lost our road patrols in the county, and it’s what the township depends on.
Moore: Growth. At the moment, because of the economy, things have slowed. I’m not against growth, but I want to control it and I want to keep the rural atmosphere of the township.
Open communication among the trustees. Communication seems to be lacking. There are three of them and it only takes a majority for a vote to get done. I’d like to see more discussion and cooperation before a vote. That seems to be an ongoing problem here lately.

How do you plan to address them?

Burnett: We’re looking at buying property adjacent to the fire station and expanding it to get more trucks there. We’re constantly updating equipment and training for the men on our EMT and fire departments. We’ve gotten our response times for the EMT down to two minutes.
I’ll continue to work on development issues for the township. There was only one new house built in the township this year, and that’s not really development to worry about.
I am very proud of the 40 acres on 303 that have been developed, and continue to be developed. A new drive to the high school, a nursing home that employs 140 people, a Community Health Partners’ doctors’ office and a computer company with 30 employees now occupies that land.
Canfield: Careful monitoring of our investments and funds and careful spending of the money entrusted to us by the taxpayers is needed. We’ve already put several things in place, such as the joint investment area with the village, the Community Improvement Corporation and the community park that will benefit the township financially. With all of these projects, I was instrumental. We still need to maintain buildings and provide training and equipment to the fire department and EMTs, which will require taking a careful step back to plan expenditures.
Moulder: I’ll continue to attend county commissioners meetings. If we’re not there, sometimes they forget these townships exist. We have to keep involved, not only with our local township and the county commissioners but also with the state township association as well. I will urge our representatives in Columbus to do what is most important for the township.
Moore: Communication has got to get better among the trustees.
They have to stay through all of the meetings, all of the work sessions. Don’t get up and leave.
Right now, they are not communicating. They are going through the motions and not putting in the time and effort before the vote. I wouldn’t do that.
A lot of things are coming down the road with sewers, LORCO and wind energy. A lot of big things are coming that could affect our rural atmosphere. I want to be prepared for it with zoning and have all of our ducks in a row.

What makes you stand out from the other candidates?

Burnett: I have 16 years of experience on the board and my business experience helps. I’ve owned businesses all of my life. Before this one, I owned LaGrange Plumbing and Fire Protection for 30 years. When you’re dealing with a half-million dollars of taxpayers’ money, that’s business. And you have to watch what you do with it.
I’m also familiar working with the village. I know all of the issues and concerns about the roads and ditches as a result of my private business.
Canfield: I’m the only female on the board and my overall experience. I’ve been in office three terms, or 12 years. I’ve served more than eight years on the community college board of trustees and eight years on the Greater Lorain County Community Foundation Board. I’ve worked hard for 12 years, not only for a place that residents want to live, but a place I do, too. I want to continue working in that direction for the next four years.
Moulder: There are two incumbents. I ran four years ago and lost. The newest candidate came to his first trustee meeting last Monday. I’ve never seen the gentleman at any township meeting or affair, so I don’t know how someone could be a good trustee if they haven’t had any involvement. I certainly have a personal preference for one trustee over the other. Certainly one gives more time and effort. I spend so many hours on zoning things because I’m on the board. I like looking up things because I find it interesting. I’m very interested in the township keeping its rural atmosphere. Because of the downturn in the economy, growth has slowed down quite a bit, but there is certainly going to be more growth.
Moore: My desire to serve the public. That’s all I’ve done for the past 30 years.
Two of the candidates have 12 to 16 years experience, Dave Moulder is on the zoning board and he’s from the community. We’re all equal.
From what I see, one of the trustees has a hard time showing up for meetings. I believe somebody needs to be there for the residents and do the job these people have been elected to do.

Gary Burnett
Age:
60
Education: Wellington High School graduate
Family: Wife, Regina; daughter, Kim; three grandchildren
Job history: Owner of Burnett Septic

Rita Canfield
Age:
53
Education: Holds a bachelor of science degree in Education and a Series 7 stock brokerage license
Family: Husband, Stephen; sons, Patrick, 23, and Stephen II, 21
Job history: Works for Transportation Security Agency; current trustee

Daniel Moore
Age:
59
Education: Keystone High School graduate and many law enforcement training courses
Family: Wife, Roberta; six children; 10 grandchildren
Job history: Worked for the LaGrange Police Department since 1975, currently serving as the village police chief

David P. Moulder
Age:
61
Education: Keystone High School graduate and holds an associate’s degree in business from Lorain County Community College. Army trained medic
Family: Wife, Sara
Job history: Retired ophthalmic assistant