It’s a crowded race for Spencer Township Board of Trustees with six candidates vying for two open seats.
In Tuesday’s election, the 1,310 registered voters in Spencer Township will decide which two candidates will join current trustee Teresa Bettinger and start their four-year term on Jan. 1.
Incumbents Shawn Valentine and Michael Hood are being challenged by newcomers Dean Croskey, Kris Ruhl, Adam Thomas, and Jacqueline Dale.
The 30-year-old Army medic, seeking re-election, said his immediate vision is to retain and expand the industrial property in the township. Partnered with the Lucas County Port Authority, Mr. Valentine worked for months to create the revolving loan fund that returns capital back to the joint economic development zone. It produced $1.5 million.
As far as the money allocated to the port authority, Mr. Valentine said he wanted to invest and redeploy those funds to help stabilize the township’s economy.
If re-elected, Mr. Valentine said he would focus on improving the township’s infrastructure.
“First and foremost we would continue the infrastructure improvements that we put in place so far,” he said. “By 2020 if we continue the infrastructure improvement plan that we have established already, all of the towns roads will be paved.”
As his first term comes to a close, Mr. Valentine said one of his proudest accomplishments was the merger of Spencer and Springfield fire departments that lowered taxes for Spencer Township residents.
Mr. Hood, 59, was first elected to the board in 1986 and has served as a trustee on-and-off for the last three decades. Mr. Hood, a lifelong resident of Spencer Township, said his primary focus for the township is economic development.
“Spencer Township trustees went into an agreement with the Lucas County Port Authority,” he said. “We are in the process of transferring $1.5 million to the port authority back for investment into Spencer Township for businesses that reside in the township, and hopefully it will stimulate and create jobs.”
Mr. Hood said economic development is the engine that’s going to drive whatever the township does.
“Our primary job is fire and rescue service and to make sure the roads are in good shape and cleared off in the wintertime. That’s primarily what we do, but we go over and beyond into the economic development.”
Mr. Croskey has assumed numerous positions in Spencer Township for the last 27 years. He served on the township’s fire department for 15 years. He was the township’s zoning inspector from 2014-2016 and is currently the township’s road superintendent.
After serving the township in different capacities since 1990, Mr. Croskey said being a trustee is the next step in him “bettering the community.”
Mr. Croskey, 43, has a list of goals he wants to accomplish, but he said he wants to ensure that the board operates as a team and not as individuals.
“I want to create transparency that is spoken of but not taking place at this time,” he said.
Mr. Croskey said ensuring a trash pick-up service is provided throughout the township is one of his highest priorities.
He added that he would use the joint economic development zone funding for its intended purpose of building infrastructure.
“We need to expand our natural gas, cable TV, and water lines so that these utilities are available to all Spencer Township residents.”
If elected, Mr. Ruhl, 32, said he wants to get back to forward political practices — honesty, integrity, accountability, and clear communication.
“If we can focus on basic municipality principles, get back to the core of why we’re all here, which is to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents through the many infrastructures the township already has in place.
Mr. Ruhl has experience serving as a trustee of a township. He is a former trustee for Blissfield Township in Michigan. He currently works as an operations compliance manager for a medical transportation company and for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Mr. Ruhl also sits on the Whitehouse/Spencer Township joint economic development zone board.
As a trustee, Mr. Ruhl said he would focus on resource utilization within the township, along with responsible spending that could lead to continued tax breaks fro the residents.
As a new trustee Mr. Thomas, 52, said he would concentrate on revitalizing Spencer Township. He said he wants to combat poverty, attack blight, and continue to funnel more resources into the community.
“We want to change the economic outlook and help our infrastructure,” he said.
As an operating engineer and former member of Spencer Township’s defunct Land Use Committee, Mr. Thomas said he understands the importance of improving the roads, cleaning ditches, and getting natural gas lines in the township.
Mr. Thomas sad he also sees a need for a senior village in the township.
“We need to watch out for our older people who built Spencer,” he said.
“My grandmother came to Spencer Township in the ’40s and built her house, my parents were raised here, and I spent 90 percent of my life here,” he said. “This is the reason I want to see it grow.”
Multiple phone calls and voicemails left with Ms. Dale were not returned.
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