Editor’s note: This is the third story regarding the Xenia Meet the Candidates forum. See previous copies for coverage of other candidates.
XENIA — The Oct. 16 Xenia Meet the Candidates Night wrapped up as residents voiced their support for two local issues on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Issue 8, a Xenia Township Fire/EMS renewal levy, is 3 mills for 5 years, commencing in 2020. Cost amounts to $.30 for each $100 of valuation. The levy is for the purpose of providing and maintaining fire apparatus, equipment, building sites, water supply, fire alarm communications, payment for personnel, purchasing of ambulance equipment and for the provision of emergency medical services.
Roy Colbrunn, a former Xenia Township firefighter and current treasurer of the Xenia Township Firefighters Community Association, asked audience members to support the levy.
“The levy pays for our full-time paramedics. We have three full-time employees that work plus our part-timers fill in after that. If we lose this levy, you’ll lose your full-time employees,” Colbrunn said. “We’re very good with our money. We haven’t asked for any new money in a long time.”
Colbrunn and Jeremy VanDyne, who has also had experience as a firefighter, both said area communities are struggling to keep qualified, certified firefighters.
“The only way we can do that is to be able to attract them, pay them appropriately, and keep them here,” Colbrunn said.
Added VanDyne, “None of us like taxes but this is a necessity. What people really don’t realize is the volunteer fire department community no longer exists. And that’s just because that’s the world we live in today. I’d like to also mention that … 20 percent of our run volume in Xenia Township actually goes to the City of Xenia to help those citizens in the City of Xenia. That’s a huge number.”
Colbrunn and VanDyne are also write-in candidates for Xenia Township trustee.
Citizens also stood up to express their support for Greene County Parks & Trails (GCP&T), which has a .9 mill operations levy on the ballot. The county-wide Greene County Park District levy, Issue 9, is a renewal, for 5 years, commencing in 2020. Its purpose is for operations, maintenance, capital improvements, land acquisition, staffing, programming and events. Cost amounts to $.09 for each $100 of valuation. This is not a tax increase.
Laurie Fox, former GCP&T employee and current Greene County Public Health employee, was the first to commend the parks.
“What they have done with some of our parks in the county is outstanding,” Fox said, naming Cedar Falls and Caesar Ford Park as two of many. “It’s all ours. It’s our area; it’s our parks. I highly support the issue.”
Xenia School Board member Jennifer Marietta talked about the numerous “absolutely beautiful parks” and the programming for all ages and interests.
“I often hear people complain that there’s not enough for their children to do in our community and I wholly disagree with that, and one reason I disagree with that is because of all the offerings of Greene County Parks & Trails,” she said. “They will teach you anything you want to know about nature and all that this county has to offer locally … We all have to live here and we all do appreciate what we have and [need to] encourage [it to] grow for our future children.”
Voters will also elect to fill two other positions.
Jacqueline S. Robinson is running uncontested for Xenia Township Fiscal Officer. She was not present, but had a letter read on her behalf.
A lifelong resident of Xenia Township, she was raised in and currently resides in Wilberforce and attended Xenia Schools. Robinson earned a bachelor’s in accounting and has more than 30 years of accounting and budgeting experience. She’s currently assistant budget director at Wright State University, where she’s worked for 20 years.
“I have the necessary knowledge and experience to be your next fiscal officer and I plan to continue to improve the best practices and procedures that are currently in place,” she wrote. “I would appreciate your support through your vote in the upcoming November election.”
Another candidate, also not present, seeks an uncontested seat. Ronald C. Lewis is running for judge of Xenia Municipal Court, full term commencing Jan. 1, 2020. He is currently the Xenia city prosecutor.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498. Follow @annadbolton on Facebook.