There are four candidates, including two incumbents, seeking three at-large seats on the Avon Lake Council.
What are the biggest issues facing the city?
Bucci: Maintaining a strong relationship with the Ford Ohio Assembly Plant, which accounts for a large portion of revenue for the city, and working on bringing new businesses in to diversify the city’s economy are the biggest issues.
Kowalski: The most important issues are looking beyond our borders and taking part in shaping our regional community. The proposed Lear Road and Interstate 90 interchange, which I believe will ease the congestion at the Route 83 and Crocker-Bassett interchanges, as well as the commuter rail proposal, are two examples.
O’Donnell: The decline of city revenue related to the Ford Ohio Assembly Plant, continuation of the sewer separation projects to meet EPA standards and prevent flooding of residents’ homes, and giving residents a cable provider option besides Time Warner are the biggest issues facing the city.
Zilka: The budget is the biggest issue because of how the poor economy is affecting people’s jobs, and therefore tax revenue for the city.
How do you plan to address them?
Bucci: I’d like to do everything we can to keep the Ford plant happy and ensure they remain a strong partner with the city. I’d also like to work with businesses already here, thank them and work with them to see how the city can help them expand. Most importantly is being proactive as a City Council. The “wait and see, hope they come here” approach doesn’t work in a good economy, let alone a bad one.
Kowalski: I would be happy to represent Avon Lake in any regional discourse, whether that be sitting on the NOACA board, or participating in some other council of governments organization.
O’Donnell: I plan to continue to be very conservative with revenues through ongoing budget review of costs and efficiency in services and programs provided by the city. This process in the past four years provided us with over $4 million in reserves to weather this economic downturn and avoid cutting city and safety services to residents. The sewer separation projects are being completed by using the fees paid for water and sewer services from other communities by way of the city’s Municipal Utilities Division. In this manner, our residents are not assessed for projects. Lastly, we are talking with other cable providers to service Avon Lake and give residents an option beyond Time Warner.
Zilka: I want to build up businesses at Pin Oak Parkway and will work with the budget to continue trying to avoid layoffs in the city. We’ve been very lucky that we haven’t had to look at layoffs, so we’re going to try and continue down that road.
What makes you stand out from the other candidates?
Bucci: The first thing that differentiates me is that I’ve never served on Council before, so I bring a new perspective on City Council. I’m not beholden to any one set of ideas. Also, I’m an attorney, which would provide a new way of thinking on the Council, and my experience working at the White House. The thing that I learned working for (Sen. Portman) is how to listen to people. I believe you can almost always find some area of agreement. It’s very rare when two people agree on absolutely everything, but you can always find some little nugget there to build off that.
Kowalski: I have an extensive background in community service (and) activism, going back to when I first moved to Avon Lake in 1987. I immediately joined the Preschool Parents Association and organized a babysitting cooperative. In 1987, I organized the Recycle Now Program, with the help of two local corporate sponsors, BFGoodrich and BFI, who covered all costs for the first year of operation. Avon Lake residents made it successful, and it was eventually reproduced in numerous Lorain County communities in the coming months. Some of my other community activism includes Avon Lake Public Library board of directors, member of the Avon Lake Environmental Affairs Advisory Board and the Women’s Club of Avon Lake, where I am a past president and current board member.
O’Donnell: My seven years of Council experience and having been chairman of the Public Service Committee and member of the Safety and Finance Committee puts me in a position to lead. We have expanded parkland for residents, re-established the bus circulator for seniors (and) families, and pushed for more funding related to concrete and asphalt street repairs in the neighborhoods. I have founded the first dog park in Lorain County, initiated the Sunday Band Concerts in the Park, established the Avon Lake Renewable Energy Committee and recently established the Avon Lake Community Council to assist 24 organizations and clubs in membership and fundraising activities by means of sharing resources and information.
Zilka: My more than 24 years on Council and having chaired most of the committees. I am hopeful that the economy will bounce back, but I have found hope in all the troubles, too. Some people argue that recessions can be good things because it forces you to make decisions and establish what is and is not necessary. We all have projects we think are important, but when we have to make those decisions in a recession you find what is really important.
Education: George Mason Law; bachelor’s from Ohio University; Lorain Catholic
Family: Wife of 10 years, Andrea, and daughters Kayla, 6, and Mia, 3
Job history: Last four years at Thompson Hine law firm. Previously legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, and legal analyst for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under George W. Bush
Web site: www.danbucci.com.
|Holly Moore Kowalski
Education: Bachelor’s degree in retail management, University of Illinois- Champaign as well as numerous government workshops at Cleveland State and Lorain County Community College
Family: Husband of 29 years, Joseph C. Kowalski; children Vince, 24, John, 23, and Tricia, 14
Job history: Laid off as administrative assistant from Townsend Learning Center in 2008. Avon Lake councilwoman from 1992 to 2003. Also worked as preschool activities coordinator for Avon Lake Schools.
|Martin E. O’Donnell
Education: Bachelor’s in education from The Ohio State University and graduate of the Levin Leadership Academy of Cleveland State University
Family: Wife Holly, and three daughters Stephanie 32; Allison, 27 and Connie, 26
Job history: Retired deputy director of the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency after 33 years and has served on the Avon Lake Council for seven years
Education: Master’s and bachelor’s in education from Kent State University, as well as post-graduate studies at Boston University, Tufts University, University of San Francisco and Cleveland State
Family: Wife of 35 years, Patricia, and children Hyla, 29, and Alex, 28
Job history: Taught at Avon Lake High School for 35 years before retiring in 2006, and has served on the Avon Lake Council for more than 24 years