Ross Twp. trustee candidates discuss managing growth

A former Ross Twp. police officer and firefighter is seeking to beat out one of the two incumbent trustees in November’s general election.

Three people — incumbents Thomas E. Willsey Jr. and Raymond Wurzelbacher face challenger Keith Ballauer — for two open seats on the board of trustees.

ELECTION DAY GUIDE: Read more about the candidates and issues on your ballot

The Journal-News asked each candidate for the township seats about their experience and the biggest problem facing the community.

Q: What makes you qualified for this job? What experience do you have to make good and informed decisions?

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Ballauer: “I’ve lived and worked in Ross Twp. since 1972 and I am running for trustee for my second time. I was a volunteer firefighter for nine years and a part-time police officer for over 17 years. I was also a call-in snow plow driver. I have worked for over 25 years for the township in the top three capacities the trustees are responsible for managing. Also, I was honored to serve my country in the United States Marine Corp.”

Willsey: “First of all, I am a lifelong resident of Ross Twp. I have been working with and for the people in my community for almost 50 years. I have spent the last 32 years as a Ross Twp. trustee. Prior to that I served eight years on Millville Village Council. During these years serving my community I have attended numerous conferences, seminars and educational workshops concerning township, local, state and national government issues. I have been serving on the board of directors of the Ohio Township Association for the last 20 years, the last four years as president.”

Wurzelbacher: “I have been working in all levels of building trades. This helps me make decisions in running the township because the township is big business.”

Q: What are the biggest problems facing the community? What do you propose doing to tackle these challenges?

Ballauer: “I feel that our township trustees have overspent on property deals and overlooked things that were viable to the township before these properties came up. I think we’re having trouble maintaining some quality fireman and police officers as they’re going to full-time jobs in bigger municipalities and cities. Also, I think more thought needs to be put on towards the expenditures. I’m for tighter control over township business.”

Willsey: “The biggest problem facing Ross is controlling and managing growth while continuing to provide and maintain the best possible services for the residents of the community. Since our state legislature cut the local government funding to all communities, we have had to find additional ways to be able to provide and maintain the level of services our community has grown accustomed to receiving. We are constantly looking for ways to partner with other neighboring areas to share equipment, manpower and ideas so that we can continue to deliver the best possible service for the lowest cost to the residents of Ross Twp. We are constantly looking for available grant funding opportunities for the enhancement of all of our departments.”

Wurzelbacher: “Changes that will be coming from the state and we have to deal with them.”

Q: What other information do you want voters to know about you?

Ballauer: “I look for the public’s input. I’m not running for this position for me; I’m running for them. I’ve been on the inside. If something comes up, I can put it out there. I will be accessible to the public. I’m in it for them.”

Willsey: “I am a lifelong resident of Ross Twp. I have raised my family here and have a tremendous amount of pride in my community and its residents. Continuing to keep Ross a safe, family-friendly community is my number one priority.”

Wurzelbacher: “I’ve been in the Ross area all my life. This is my home. I work with the veterans in Ross as that means a lot to me as I am an Army veteran.”

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