Editor’s note: This is the second story highlighting the Greene County Tea Party’s Meet the Candidates Night. It discusses candidates vying for a seat on the Bath Township Board of Trustees.
FAIRBORN — One thing the three Bath Township Board of Trustee candidates have in common is a love for the township and a desire to see it collaborate with neighboring communities while thriving on its own.
The Greene County Tea Party hosted its annual Meet the Candidates Oct. 15, inviting local candidates from Fairborn and Bath Township to address voters before the upcoming election.
The three Bath Township Board of Trustee candidates, who are listed in alphabetical order, include Jeffrey Flora, Kassie Lester and Tim Steininger. They are vying for one seat that will become available in January 2020. The elected official will serve a four-year term.
The Greene County Tea Party noted that residents of the City of Fairborn vote for Bath Township Trustee candidates, but Bath Township residents do not vote for Fairborn City Council candidates. Both Bath Township and Fairborn residents cast votes for members of the Fairborn City School District Board of Education.
Flora spoke first, explaining that he has run in previous elections in Greene County. While he said he has not been elected in any previous races, he was still given an opportunity to take away a life lesson. Flora said he has worked as an insurance agent since 1993, and previously served as a stock broker. His family has called Fairborn home for the last 43 years, and while they love their community — Flora said he also came to love living in Bath Township.
Flora shared that he believes community activities serve as “salvation” for citizens, and has been involved with the Fairborn Fourth of July committee for a number of years. He is also a previous president of the Fairborn Shrine Club. Flora said he had perfect attendance throughout his school career, and while he hasn’t attended a recent Bath Township Trustee meeting — he promised that votes for him wouldn’t be thrown away.
When asked about about a biodigester facility that has sparked a local controversy during the Q-and-A portion of the event, Flora reflected on the Memorial Day tornadoes that ripped through the Miami Valley and said if a natural disaster of that kind were to directly impact Bath Township, it could become a threat to the environment.
Bath Township previously partnered with the City of Fairborn for its fire/EMS services. However, due to rising costs imposed by Fairborn on Bath Township residents in order to continue providing fire/ems services, Bath Township Trustees opted to enter into contracts with multiple neighboring townships to provide fire/EMS services. When asked about re-negotiating the fire/EMS contract, Flora wondered if Bath Township and the City of Fairborn could work-out a 10-year contract at lower costs than what was previously being proposed.
Lester, a Bath Township resident, had the floor to speak next. She explained that she grew up in Virginia and has been married for 35 years which resulted in three daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Lester said she is running for a seat on the Bath Township Board of Trustees after attending township meetings for several years and observing what she describes as citizen comments “not being taken to heart” by township officials.
Lester asked during her presentation if Bath Township was getting the best fire/EMS services for its money and said data concerning response times should be examined before moving forward to decide what the best course of action would be. She ultimately highlighted that the lives of Bath Township residents should not be put on the line.
Lester also addressed during her presentation the biodigester facility, highlighting that it’s important that the township safeguards its residents and prevent the area from “becoming Flint, Michigan.” She said as a resident of Bath Township, she is directly impacted by what takes place in the area. Lester concluded her presentation saying she plans to stay in the township for the rest of her life, “as long as she can afford the property taxes,” she said with a smile.
Steininger, a current Fairborn City Council member who is term limited, delivered the final presentation for Bath Township Trustee candidates. He explained that while he lives in Fairborn, he sees the township and the city as one. Steininger said that while the issues each municipality faces are dealt with separately, the citizens, in his eyes, are seen as one and that Fairborn and Bath Township should treat each other as partners.
Steininger said he is running because he wishes to see Bath Township move forward and be prosperous. At the same time, he said he wishes to explore partnerships and collaborations with neighboring communities. Steininger said he would also like to address Bath Township blight if he is elected, in which he would work with citizens to see how the township could help them. He shared that he operates as an elected official by gathering facts and making an informed decision before moving forward. He said it’s important to listen, engage and then decide.
Steininger also addressed the biodigester and fire contract conversations, saying he has no agenda and is not running so he can “run both the city and the township.” He said it takes a team effort to move forward, and promised to bring “fresh ideas” to the board of trustees if he is elected.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.