A touching moment drew applause at Fairfield’s council swearing-in ceremony

Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller is excited for the next four years in his second, and last, term.

“It’s an incredible honor to sit in the center chair as the mayor of my hometown,” said Miller as he and the three at-large council members took an oath of office Thursday evening.

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While Miller said he’s proud of the work the city’s done over the past four years, he added, “I’m looking forward to the next four years.”

“We have a lot on our plate for the next four years, but I am confident we’ll accomplish all that, and we will leave Fairfield better than when we found it,” he said.

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This will be Miller’s last four years on City Council, as he’s previously told the Journal-News that he does not plan to seek election at the end of this term. Miller will be term-limited in four years and would be required to wait two years before seeking another Fairfield City Council seat.

Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller takes the oath of office on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, for his second term as the city’s mayor. Miller ran unopposed in the November 2017 general election. His wife, Michelle, holds his family’s bible to take the oath administered by Fairfield Municipal Court Judge Joyce Campbell (not pictured). MICHAEL D. PITMAN. (Staff Writer)

Along with Miller, Council members Bill Woeste and Chad Oberson and Councilman-elect Ron D’Epifanio took their oaths of office. The term for all four begins on Jan. 1.

“I’m really pleased to be able to continue another four years and continue all the projects we’ve started, and the next four years will be very exciting for the city of Fairfield,” said Woeste, who will be term-limited along with Miller and Oberson at the end of the coming term.

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Oberson said the past four years were good and he “decided to run again to hopefully bring the same qualities that I had the first time.” Oberson has been a budget hawk in his first four years and has said he wants the city to add more to its rainy day fund.

Oberson said he’s also “excited” to work with “some new blood” with D’Epifanio returning to the dais for the first time in four years.

“I’m excited to have him sitting next to me,” he said.

D’Epifanio, who was the mayor before Miller, thanked everyone who supported him in his election bid. He was the top vote-getter in the five-person council race for the three at-large seats.

But his final “thank you” drew applause from the capacity crowd to see the four men take their oaths of office.

He thanked his wife, Patty.

“I wouldn’t have a family today if it wasn’t for her,” said D’Epifanio, who lost his first wife in a car accident in which his daughter sustained life-altering injuries. “We wouldn’t have what we have today if it wasn’t for my wife, Patty.”

Two of the three at-large council seats weren’t settled until weeks after the Nov. 7 general election. The Butler County Board of Elections ordered an automatic recount for Dec. 1 in the at-large race as Oberson and Woeste’s vote totals were within a half percent of former councilman Terry Senger, who finished fourth.

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