October 25, 2014

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AMHERST — COUNCIL AT LARGE

Four men are running for three at-large City Council seats in the city of Amherst.

What are the challenges or issues facing the city?

Janik: The most-pressing issue for Amherst is the economy. Like all government entities, our city’s revenues have decreased because the city’s investments are not earning what they were and as our citizens’ incomes have declined, so has the city’s income tax revenues.
Traster: The biggest issue facing the city is the projected shortfall for next year’s general fund, which supports the police, fire and street departments, as well as the administration, City Council and capital improvements. Money that supports the general fund comes from the people working in Amherst, a portion of the real estate tax, and other investments. Due to increases in the cost of running the city, the current money collected in the general fund will no longer be adequate, forcing the city to make extreme cuts to an already lean city work force.
Van Treuren: Amherst City Council needs commitment, not partisanship. The needs of our families will always be more important to me than the interests of any political party.
Walters: The biggest challenge facing our city is continuing to balance the budget. Second is the safety of our citizens, and what I call quality-of-life issues. I want to see our residents safe and enjoying life at home.

How do you plan to address them?

Janik: First and foremost, Amherst needs to be responsible in its spending. At the same time, Amherst needs to increase its revenue base by growth in the business areas of our city, the historic downtown and Route 58. Of course, we need to ensure that Amherst never loses its small-town identity and charm.
Traster: City Council has put Issue 5 on this November’s ballot. This issue deals with a half-percent street improvement tax. This account always has a large carryover, large enough to make up for the shortfalls in the general fund. By shifting a fourth of a percent of the street improvement fund to the general fund and leaving a fourth of a percent in the street improvement fund, it would allow the city to maintain both the quality of streets and services that residents of Amherst expect, without increasing the half percent tax they currently are paying.
Van Treuren: If elected, I want to encourage City Council to look beyond party identification and work together to keep our city safe and beautiful.
Walters: Our residents will have an opportunity to vote on Issue 5 on Nov. 3. This will help balance the budget without any increase in taxes. I serve as chairman of the Police and Fire Committee that supports our safety forces. I also am working with several groups to improve our community.

What makes you best suited for the job?

Janik: As a lifelong resident, I know this city and its strengths and weaknesses. I want to be involved in shaping the future of a city I am proud to call my hometown. My education and work experience will benefit serving Amherst as a Council member. Working in both the public and private business sectors and practicing both civil and criminal law has prepared me for legislating and dealing with legal, business and economic issues.
Traster: I’ve always maintained a team-effort attitude. My main concern has always been what is best for the citizens of Amherst, and by working together, not only on Council but with all the different groups in the city, we are a stronger community. I also believe experience is important. In the last 12 years, I’ve learned how to get the job done.
Van Treuren: My family has called Lorain County home for more than a century. My wife, Jessica, and I are proud to live, work and own a home in Amherst. I want to do everything I can to keep Amherst safe and beautiful for every resident’s family and am proud of my service in the United States Army and involvement in local community organizations.
Walters: After serving four years on the Amherst City Planning Commission, I have become familiar with our zoning ordinances and master planning. I have formed many working relationships that are important in building community spirit to get projects started and completed.

Frank Janik

Frank Janik

Frank Janik
Age:
44
Party: Democrat
Education: Graduated magna cum laude from Kent State University with political science/government and English majors; and with honors from Ohio State University College of Law
Family: One brother and his family; a sister and her family; and mother, all
of whom live in Amherst
Job history: Practicing attorney in both the private and public sectors
for 20 years.
 
Terry Traster

Terry Traster

Terry Traster
Age:
53
Party: Democrat
Education: High school graduate
Family: Married to Eleanor 30 years; 4 children: Emily, Angela, Terry and Leanna
Job history: Current at-large Council representative, carpenter, pattern maker; currently construction manager at Amherst Historical Society since 1999.
 
Phil Van Treuren

Phil Van Treuren

Phil Van Treuren
Age:
32
Party: Republican
Education: Southern Utah University for a bachelor’s degree in English; U.S. States Army Adjutant General School, graduate of a paralegal specialist course, Ohio National Guard Officer Candidate School, 145th Regiment Regional Training Institute
Family: Wife Jessica; Children: Sophia, Alex and Andrew
Job history: I lead the internal production of Web sites, search-engine optimization and social media strategy for Emerge, Inc.
Web site: www.PhilVanTreuren.com.
 
Dennis E. Walters

Dennis E. Walters

Dennis E. Walters
Age:
63
Party: Republican
Education: Bachelor’s of science in education from Ohio University; master’s of education degree from Kent State University
Family: Wife Sophie, three adult children Brent, 31, Brandon, 26, Ashley, 24, all college graduates
Job history: Currently serving in a Council at-large seat; formerly worked at Firelands Local Schools 24 years as a school administrator; and at Lorain County Joint Vocational School for five years.