XENIA — Voters in the City of Xenia will be electing four council members on Nov. 3.
Current councilmen John Caupp, Michael Engle and Dale Louderback are seeking re-election and are joined by newcomers Sarah Mays and Dr. Edgar Wallace.
Caupp was first elected to council in 2008 and is in his second term after spending nine years on the Xenia Civil Service Commission. He said Xenia is growing and moving in a good direction but it needs to move forward in a financially responsible way.
“I believe that you need someone to be a watch dog on city council for the tax payers dollar, and I am that person,” Caupp said. “In my two terms on council, I have consistently sought to save the city of Xenia Money. It is my belief that the city, township and county should be working together with more services to save the tax payers of Xenia money.”
Economic development is an important issue moving forward, according to Caupp but he said in order for the city to grow, rolling the income tax back to 2 percent is “a must.”
“We must try to attract higher-paying jobs, and keep those higher income workers living inside our city,” Caupp said. “In order to do that, a tax rollback is needed in my opinion. Growth is how we fix the cash flow issues.”
Caupp said because of budget cuts from the state, it is up to Xenia to maintain its operating funds.
“Being a watch dog, and fighting to make sure your money is not spent in the wrong way is always my goal,” he said.
Engle has served on city council for seven years and has been elected as president the last four year. He said his 29-plus years of federal experience allows him to bring a “wealth of demonstrated practical knowledge and background in governmental operations to our local government.”
He currently serves as a planner, organizer and strategic decision maker in the Air Force’s largest intelligence production entity.
“I am well-versed in leading and managing complex organizations,” Engle said. “I have demonstrated great skill and diplomacy over my seven years of service to Xenia as a city council member. … I have led the strategic decision making process for the city’s elected officials. The council’s collective decisions over that time have resulted in major capital investments yielding significantly enhanced services for the city’s residents.”
Engle also feels economic development is key to the city’s continued growth. With that development is the necessity for highly desired jobs.
“Key to Xenia’s advancement and financial stability is the assimilation of good-paying jobs to enhance its revenue collection and, in-turn, enable the provision of exceptional services for (Xenia) citizens,” Engle said.
Louderback has been on council for eight years and said he is proud of his achievements during his public service.
He said he has experience balancing budgets because of his time on council and is a “watch dog of the taxpayers’ money.”
Louderback has spoken out against many expenditures, especially the new city administration building.
“I didn’t think the timing was right to spend taxpayer dollars on the new city hall,” he said, adding that 36 percent of the project is being funded out of sewer and water funds.
Economic development is high on the list of priorities for Louderback and Xenia.
“Building our tax base is imperative moving forward,” he said. “Good paying jobs is critical to the city to turn our local economy around. If you bring good jobs to Xenia, that would build our tax base which would reduce our negative cash flow.”
He said some “front burner” items include the possibility of expansion at Rogosin Institute and Cornerstone Development, a research and development company. There’s also talks of a combination of a conglomerate of the YMCA, Clark State, Central State and a major hospital forming a center.
The city needs to address its 2.25 percent income tax, which Louderback said is one of the highest in the Ohio.
Mays has been on Xenia Traffic Commission for two years and has also run the Xenia Community Easter Egg Hunt for the the last three years and has served as the volunteer coordinator for the community Thanksgiving day meal for the last five years.
Mays said her experience in fund-raising makes her an ideal candidate.
“I have a perspective that builds on partnerships,” she said. “It is important to connect people and organizations to the right projects within the city that need funding.”
While being a member of the area association of churches and ministries, Mays has learned about working with people who have different views but share the same goal.
“Many of us in Xenia have the same goal: the good of our community,” Mays said. “I want to be a part of figuring out how to get to that goal, despite the different perspectives, ideas, and approaches each person brings … .”
A big issue facing Xenia is empty buildings.
“I believe these are opportunities,” Mays said. “An empty building is a blank slate, a place to dream big. I want to explore partnerships with local universities and businesses. There are also plenty of buildings to allow us to dream big enough for things like a rec center, an indoor play and activity area, a hands-on science center, and much more.”
Wallace served three terms on council in another city after serving as secretary of the merger commission that composed the charter for that city.
He believes that the mayor and six other members of council are a team that works collectively for the benefit of the citizens of Xenia and serves best when it works together and in harmony.
“I bring experience in conflict resolution, mediation and leadership that can be useful to bring the council together for the benefit of the entire community,” Wallace said. “I am used to working with others in both the Xenia Area Association of Churches and Ministries as well as the African-American Ministerial Alliance working alongside others who have somewhat different views but serving the same Lord for the purpose of leading souls to Him.”
Wallace sees the projected cash flow shortage as a major issue and the city must seek revenue sources that do not impact the citizens to make up the shortfall.
“We must look to new development,” he said. “New jobs, tourism and other sources of income to bring outside revenue to our city to solve these problems.”
Development of Xenia Towne Square and vacant lots will change those locations from resource drains to revenue stream contributors, Wallace said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.