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Published: Wednesday, 10/17/2007

Rematch of fiscal officer race focuses on Sylvania Township fire fund

BY MIKE JONES
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

The race for Sylvania Township fiscal officer is a rematch between the two candidates who sought the job four years ago.

At that time, Ken Perry, a banker, was the incumbent and was challenged by Dave Simko, an attorney.

Mr. Simko won and this year is being challenged on the November ballot by his predecessor.

Mr. Perry said he enjoyed the job, and his experience coupled with his years in banking - he was assistant vice president of the former Sky Bank - make him a good choice. He added that he retired about a month ago and will be available to devote all of his time to the duties.

He said he thinks it is necessary to work cooperatively with all of the trustees and the township administration.

Mr. Perry faulted Mr. Simko for making public a projection that the township fire department was facing a serious deficit next year.

The current fiscal officer has been in a contentious disagreement with two trustees over the fire department budget.

Mr. Simko projects a deficit of $1.5 million to $1.6 million. Trustees Pam Hanley and DeeDee Liedel say it will be much less severe and have put a 0.5-mill levy on the ballot which they say will allow the department to continue operating at its current level. Mr. Simko has said that measure in insufficient.

A citizens' initiative has put a 1.5-mill levy on the ballot, which the trustees oppose.

In campaign appearances, Mr. Simko has been open about his disagreement with the two trustees and says he is elected by the public not to work for the trustees, but to oversee township finances.

The disagreement focuses on how to charge the cost of 12 dispatchers in the safety department and how much the fire department should re-pay on loans from the general fund.

Mr. Simko, who represented the township as its attorney before he became fiscal officer, said the support the two trustees have shown for Mr. Perry could make it difficult for the candidate to openly oppose them if Mr. Perry is elected.

Mr. Perry said any disagreements would be dealt with while working with other officials.



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