Voters in Miami Twp. will be considering six candidates for two seats on the Board of Trustees in the Nov. 5 election.
Incumbent Mike Nolan is running for a second term. Bob Matthews, Mike Phibbs and Dale Bennett are running individual campaigns. Andrew Papanek and Nick Seitz are part of a two-person ticket aimed at changing the balance of power on the three-person board through their election.
“To make the change we feel is needed, both seats needed to be taken,” said Papanek, semi-retired after close to 40 years with area law enforcement agencies.
The challengers all pledged to control problems and controversies in the township government, if elected.
During the past year, staffers, from the administrator to road workers, have been cut for disciplinary or financial reasons. An independent auditor was hired to ensure the township’s financial integrity amid questions about the trustees committing close to $20 million in township funding to the second phase of the Austin Landing project, which is to be repaid with property taxes on about $150 million in improvements.
Although not seeking re-election, Trustee Deborah Preston is helping with the Papanek-Seitz campaign. Preston, split with Nolan and Trustee Charlie Lewis over the Austin project.
“She doesn’t run it. No promises made,” Papanek said.
Seitz and Papanek are focused on retaining the township police department. Voters approved a new levy for the department after Nolan discussed merging with Miamisburg or contracting with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for the service.
Papanek and Seitz also pledged to improve openness by the trustees and financial management by the local government.
“Enough’s enough. Something’s got to change,” said Seitz, a firefighter-paramedic with the Miami Valley Fire District who also operates two businesses.
If elected, Papanek also pledged to urge RG Properties to end the shifting of retail stores and other businesses to Austin Landing from elsewhere in the community.
“It tends to drain from the north end of the township,” he said.
Nolan said the property taxes, or tax incremental financing, from the Austin project also would provide $35 million to the Miamisburg school district by 2035. While projecting 4,000 people eventually will work at the mixed-use development off the Austin Boulevard interchange to Interstate 75, Nolan acknowledged other areas of the township have suffered as a result of trustees’ concentration on the project.
“We have focused so hard on Austin Landing and getting that done, I probably have been remiss,”” he said, pledging to refocus on township parks and the Dayton Mall’s redevelopment, if re-elected.
While supporting the local police department, Nolan — like Papanek — a former chief deputy of the county Sheriff’s Office, said he would continue to look for ways to consolidate operations as was done with the fire district which handles fire protection and ambulance service in Miamisburg and the township.
Phibbs expressed concerns that consolidations diminish the township.
“I see it being swallowed up by Miamisburg,” said Phibbs, who is running a shoe-string campaign, his third for trustee. Neither he nor Bennett set up web sites.
Phibbs, Matthews and Bennett all ran two years ago.
Phibbs, a retired cook, and Bennett, a retired General Motors worker, are running their own campaigns.
Matthews, a businessman with an information technology background, pledged to equalize services in the township and create a business liaison to network with local businesses.
“This would allow the business to express what they need to make it easier to do business in the township,” he said in a response for the Dayton Daily News Voters Guide.
Bennett - known for speaking at trustee meetings about the need for more signs welcoming people to the community - called for decisions on the status of the township’s acting administrator.
“We need to not forget about our parks and signage on the north part of the township,” he added.