TROY — Leadership Troy’s annual Meet the Candidates night Thursday allowed the audience to ask in-depth questions surrounding the city’s proposed Operation Recreation levy and learn more about those running for council seats for 2018.
The forum featured candidates and one ballot issue facing the voters in Troy in the May 2 Primary Election include:
• Troy City Income Tax for Parks and Recreation Troy City
Discussion regarding the Operation Recreation levy will be presented in a levy preview story in the Miami Valley Sunday News.
• Council-at-Large candidates: Thomas Andrew Brinkman, William Lutz, Robin Oda, Todd Severt and Lynne Snee. Three candidates are to be elected.
• Troy City Council 5th Ward: William Rozell and William Twiss. One candidate is to be elected from that Ward.
At-large candidate Thomas Brinkman was not in attendance Thursday.
Scott Hornberger of Troy Community Radio asked city council candidates what was the biggest issue facing the city of Troy today and their plan to overcome that specific issue.
At-large candidate Todd Severt said the same problem plagues the city as when he served on council two decades ago.
“There’s a perception of failure to communicate. There seems to be a disconnect between the administration, the city and the citizens of the city,” Severt said. “I think the best thing we can do is sort of be a conduit for the citizens to feel that they can come and address issues with us and we can present them to the city.”
Severt said the hierarchy needs to be the residents on top, then council and then administration.
“Sometimes I think we get convoluted in that and so I think the most important job, as I see it, as a Troy City Council member would be to have open ears, open presentation. Sometimes the administration has a very valid reason for why they are doing it, it’s just not explained and it gets kind of lost.”
At-large candidate Lynne Snee said the last several years city council has set economic development as its top priority.
“So I continue to think that economic development, and the things that come along with that, is our number one priority. We said some of those things tonight — bringing jobs, bringing skilled workers to the city — and also addressing the quality of life that goes along with that. Being a partner with our board of education, a partner with manufacturers, a partner with educational institutions, might provide more of that skilled workforce,” she said. “While the city council meets and sets those goals and properties, I think we give considered discussion to it then and continue to make that our number one priority for the future of Troy.”
Fifth ward council member incumbent William Twiss said he believes economic development is important, but the quality of the city’s schools is an important issue as well.
“We have some big decisions coming up with our schools. We want to make sure our buildings are being maintained and the quality of education for our younger generation. I also think crime and safety prevention is important for our citizens and we want to maintain that. They do an excellent job. Can we communicate better? Yes, I think we can have dialogue and create more opportunities and improve our communication, but there are many things within the city of Troy that we are blessed with that we can fine tune and improve upon and that’s what we will look at as a council.”
Fifth ward candidate William Rozell said while council sets goals, council needs to provide input to balance the city’s assets against the desires and amenities the residents want.
“It needs to be communicated as different aspects of what we are adding or taking away with revenues. They need to be publicized more. I think they can do a better job sharing what different committee meetings are, but then sometimes people only come when it affects them,” he said. “So basically, continue to watch the budget and balance the assets against the amenities you want to provide the citizens and what the citizens demand.”
At-large candidate William Lutz said the biggest issue he’d like to see addressed is “How is (our city) doing?”
“What I would like to see happen is I’d like to see our city work with the National Research Council and the International Management Association and do a survey of our residents every three years on the services we provide and get real data on how well we are doing and have that data to form our strategic priorities and strategic objectives going ahead,” Lutz said. “It’s one thing to say we think we are doing well, it’s whole different thing when we get input from our residents to determine whether we really are doing well or not.”
At-large candidate Robin Oda said she agreed with the previous candidate’s points, but she believes the heroin epidemic in the city is the biggest issue.
“It is very much at the forefront right now,” she said. “We are dying with it. Everybody is. I will say you can not lead a horse to water. These people that are overdosing have to want help. And when they need help, we need to be ready to give it to them. The police has their hands tied with only so much they can do. They know where the drug houses are, but they just can’t run in. It is a process — it is a long drawn out process, but encouraging people to want to get the help, (but) there’s not a whole lot we can do.”
For additional candidate and Operation Recreation levy information, see Sunday’s edition of the Miami Valley Sunday News.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews