Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016
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Student, 21, seeks to defeat mayor in Waterville

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    The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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    The Blade/Jessica Crossfield
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The Blade/Jessica Crossfield
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Youth versus experience.

That's shaping up as the implicit theme of the mayoral race in Waterville, as a young, first-term councilman challenges the village's seasoned incumbent.

Derek Merrin, 21, is a history major at the University of Toledo. An unabashed conservative, he quotes Milton Friedman in his cell phone's voicemail greeting: "If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand."

Chuck Peyton, the incumbent, is 71 but looks younger. He seeks a second term. Mr. Peyton was mayor for two terms in the 1980s. He has served on council and as vice mayor and did a stint as village administrator in 2002.

In keeping with Waterville's low-key, nonpartisan elections, neither candidate has anything even slightly negative to say about the other.

Mr. Merrin is emphasizing fiscal responsibility. He notes that the village isn't wasting money now, but believes expenditures could be trimmed. He said he fears that a hike in the village's 2 percent payroll tax is in the not-too-distant future.

Mr. Peyton points out that a Waterville mayor can't raise taxes even if he wants to, which he doesn't. "It takes a vote of the general public to raise or lower taxes. I'm not at this time concerned about taxes increasing. We're not exactly flush with funds, but we're lean and mean," he said.

Waterville does not give its mayor executive powers or a veto. The office-holder runs the council meetings and appoints committees. The day-to-day business of running the village is handled by an administrator, who reports to council.



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Mr. Merrin took his council seat last year, after running a campaign in which he went door-to-door. "I think our village is for the most part well-run," he said. "I think our administrator does a good job."

But there is room for improvement, he added.

Money could be saved, for instance, by postponing equipment purchases, he said.

If elected mayor, he would hold town-hall meetings at various times of the day so more citizens could attend.

Mr. Peyton has worked for the Ohio Department of Transportation and Lucas County. He's a longtime Lucas County Jury Commissioner, one of two.

The terms of three village councilmembers end this year: Tim Guzman, Joe Beckler, and Pauline Glaza. Only Mr. Guzman is seeking re-election. The other candidates are: Craig Cluley, Bob Brakenwagen, Norm Witzler, John Gouttiere, and James Valtin.

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