There are six candidates, including two incumbents, seeking two New Russia Township trustee slots.
What are the biggest issues facing your township?
Brubaker: Eventually, there is going to be a sewer issue. We know it is coming. It’s just a matter of when and how it is going to be funded. The issue right now is spending. The spending of money here in the township is just ridiculous. The new administration building, for example, was purchased 1,200 days ago and we just moved in a week ago.
The other big issue in the township is zoning. Two years ago, there was a referendum in the township for the zoning book. The Zoning Commission asked to redo zoning in the township. I was treasurer on the Political Action Committee that fought against zoning changes. The zoning book is resurfacing again, and it should not.
Hoyt: Annexation is the biggest issue. All of the cities always want a part of the township for a bigger tax base. But the current elected officials are a problem as well. They are out of touch with what residents want. I’ve been going to township meetings for the last two or three years now, and I see it at the meetings. The projects they are working on include a small circle of people and a lot of residents feel left out of the process. They don’t feel like they are included.
Pakish: Right now, the biggest new issue in the township is getting a new service facility to store equipment and provide better service. Over the years, we’ve expanded our services, and we need more room to take care of the equipment. We also have additional improvements we should make to the park and nature preserve. We sent out surveys to residents and based on the results, they would like to see more trees, more plantings and more playground equipment for the children.
When the sheriff reduced the road patrols in the township, we saw a need to contract with the Sheriff’s Department for a full-time deputy for the township, and we will want to maintain that. We will also work to see if we can get the sheriff to restore the road patrols, which ultimately lead to the safety and well-being of our residents.
Palmer: One of the issues I’m going to campaign on is going green. I think we need solar energy or wind turbines in the township, not only to cut down on costs, but possibly even to make money by selling energy back to the city. I’ve had geothermal at my residence for nine or 10 years now, and it’s really benefited me. I’m into saving money and energy by doing that in the township. The other issue I see is that money the township has invested is getting a minimal amount of interest. I want to look into seeing if we can get more interest. We’re in a pretty good financial situation because of Allied Waste, but that money is not going to be there forever. We should be accruing as much interest as possible.
Wilburn: I hope to bring my expertise in the banking and finance field to the township. I’ve worked in international banking, agricultural lending and mortgage lending. I will work to get better returns on our investments. I also will work with developing businesses and homes to keep the rural atmosphere of the township. Residents want to grow the community, but they want to keep it rural. They want modern conveniences, but they don’t want big business. We need to look at community living development, such as apartment complexes. Zoning issues and what we do with our land are definite issues facing the township.
Williams: I don’t know that there are any major issues in the township. Our operations are sound. Our finances are secure. We have money in the bank and we plan on moving forward. One issue is planned development in the township. While many residents want to keep the rural atmosphere of the township, they also want modern conveniences nearby.
How do you plan to address them?
Brubaker: I’m only one person. I cannot fight without the backing of the other trustees. Yes, there has to be changes in zoning, but we don’t have to do it as a collective book. Some of the current trustees don’t want to listen to the people. They are very unapproachable. I want people to approach me. And I will do everything in my power to do what they want done.
Hoyt: I will fight any annexation that comes along. I don’t want to give up any of the township. I will also be more transparent to the people and more available. When a resident calls or asks a question, I plan to get back to them with good answers, not answers that just go around in a circle. I also plan on basing my decisions on what the residents want.
Pakish: I will sit down and hammer it out with the trustees as to how we want to accomplish these goals. It’s a three-panel vote, so we need to work together. The township is in a good financial position, an excellent position, to really do any projects that we can think of.
Palmer: I’ve been studying solar energy. I’m not sure wind turbines would work as well here. It’s something I’m interested in, and the benefit to the township as a whole of putting up solar panels would provide a lifelong return. Solar panels are a 50- to 70-year investment in our future. If elected, I plan to look into the interest we’re receiving on our investments. I would like to look into investing in our community banks, as I think that would be of interest to the trustees, the community and the residents of New Russia Township.
Wilburn: Particularly in regards to our zoning problems, I’m going to have to educate myself. I’ve never worked in government. I’ve worked in consumer lending. But I see what people want and what their priorities are. I’ve talked to people a lot about zoning and our investments. Going door-to-door, residents are concerned about our finances and spending, the new township hall and park and the zoning issues.
Williams: I will have planning conversations with residents to keep them aware of what we are doing in the township. I will continue to work to keep the township harmonious.
What makes you stand out from other candidates?
Brubaker: I’ve been to every township meeting for the past three years. I’m chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Between both of those, you have an opportunity to see what goes on. A lot of times, it is two (trustees) against one. We can’t play that game, especially when it is over something silly like purchasing road equipment. I’m proud that I’ve been to every one of those meetings. If elected, I intend to work hard to communicate with the other trustees in order to represent the residents in the township.
Hoyt: I’m a fourth-generation resident of the township. I’ve been here quite a long time. I’d like to preserve the rural atmosphere of the township. I’m strongly passionate about where I live. I also have common sense when it comes to decision making, and I will make decisions in a timely manner.
Pakish: My desire to serve the residents and get things done for their benefit. Since taking on the job as trustee four years ago, I’ve kept myself involved not only in the township, but also in the county and regionally. I’ve taken advantage of the various classes that have been offered. And it’s all been based on the need to want to serve the residents. The lessons that I’ve learned over the last four years and the information that I’ve gained will help guide me for the next four years.
Palmer: I hope I could benefit the residents of New Russia Township with my honesty and character. I ran two pretty successful businesses over the last 35 years and that experience will help. I will try to do better than our current representatives. I’m not unpleased with the job they’re doing. They are people of high character. I would like to see a little change. That’s why I’m running. I’ve dealt with quite a few township residents over the years, which is a good thing. Those that I have not known, I’m hoping to meet over the next few weeks.
Wilburn: I’ve lived here for 33 years, so I’m a longtime resident. I volunteer in the community. I’m on the police auxiliary in Oberlin. I’m treasurer for the Salvation Army in Oberlin. And I’m a court-appointed child advocate. I do as much as I can for the community. I’ve lived here long enough now that my kids are grown and I can focus more on my goals and what I want to do now.
Williams: I’ve spent 28 years as a trustee, so I have a wealth of background, knowledge and experience. I have a vision for the future. I want to amass more quality services for residents. I’m also a full-time trustee, so I’m available and can communicate with residents. I want to help enhance the quality of life for residents in the township and help in any way I can.
Education: Amherst High School
Family: Husband, Doug
Job history: Bookkeeper for Messaros Photography in Elyria Township
Jack A. Hoyt
Education: Elyria High School; attended Lorain County Community College, The University of Akron and the Polaris Career Center
Family: Wife, Barbara; three children
Job history: Tradesman for Ford Motor Co. in Brook Park
Education: University of Dayton
Family: Wife, Shirley; four children and three grandchildren
Job history: Retired electrical engineer; current New Russia Township trustee
Education: Oberlin High School; two years at Bowling Green State University
Family: Single; two daughters
Job history: Semi-retired; recently sold two longtime Oberlin-area businesses, the Tap House bar and Watson Hardware
Carol Lee Wilburn
Education: North Ridgeville High School; associate degree with specialty in banking finance from Lorain County Community College
Family: Husband, James Horning, children Damien, Devon and Tiffanie, and two grandchildren
Job history: Holds a mortgage lender’s license and life and health insurance license and works as an independent agent
Richard S. Williams
Age: Would not say
Education: Wellington High School; Finn College Technical Institute in Cleveland
Family: Wife, Shirley; three children
Job history: Air Force veteran; retired federal employee with 15 years at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and 17 years with the FAA in Oberlin; current New Russia Township trustee