ENON — Voters in the Village of Enon will take to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 3 to choose two of three candidates who have their sights set on the open seats on the Enon Village Council.
Incumbent Stephen Trout, whose term on council expires at the end of the year, faces newcomers Mitch Oliver and Jeremy Whitacre. The new candidates will also vie for the seat now held by Councilman Jerry Crane, who is not seeking re-election.
Oliver, is the father of two grown daughters and the grandfather to one granddaughter, and has resided in the village with his wife Troy for 20 years.
“My wife and I raised two children in Enon, and we feel like it’s been a great place for our family,” Oliver said. “I’d like to serve the community to help preserve the values and the quality of living that have helped us enjoy our time here in Enon.”
Oliver believes he has the expertise to help the village meet the challenges in the next four years. He earned a BS in secondary education from Georgia State University and currently is the Manager of Health, Safety and Security at Speedway LLC. During his 25-year employment at Speedway LLC, Oliver has held a number of positions, including positions in environmental, maintenance and construction divisions, as well as store support.
Oliver is also a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Fairborn and has served as both a deacon and an elder at the church.
If elected to office, Oliver stated that he would work toward establishing long-term plans that would maintain a balance between the needs of the village and council’s spending priorities.
“Financial management will continue to be an issue for all small governments,” Oliver said. “As resources shrink from the state level, and demands continue, we’ll need to exercise financial discipline.”
Oliver noted that some of his greatest strengths included years of professional experience in financial management and maintaining budgets while accomplishing specific goals. He said he has learned how to collaborate with others to achieve common goals.
Oliver shares similar views as Trout regarding the three most important concerns presently facing the village, including maintaining an effective police force, maintaining and improving water utility and continuing to promote a sense of community within the village.
Trout is seeking a fourth term in office. In his first bid for office in 1996, Trout was elected to the office of Enon Clerk/Treasure. In 2003, he was elected to village council and has served 11 years as council president.
During his tenure as village councilman, Trout has served as chair of the Finance Committee for 12 years, chair of the Legislative Committee for seven years and chair of the Streets and Sidewalk Committee for two years. He has also served on the Public Service Committee, the Public Safety Committee and the Beautification Committee. At present, Trout is a member of the Enon Village Planning Commission, as well as Masonic Lodge 421 and Enon VFW Post 8437.
He is a father and grandfather, has resided in the village with his wife Katherine for 27 years.
“I have always attempted to represent the concerns and best interests of all the residents, along with keeping an open mind to all ideas and issues,” Trout said. “I believe I can still contribute in a positive, beneficial manner to the council and the Village of Enon.”
If elected another term, Trout said he would work towards completing the Main Street Project which would include updating sidewalks and curb ramps along the street. The project is currently expected to begin in spring 2018. He said he’d like to see the project get started and finish up.
He feels that his greatest strengths as candidate for village council include attaining years of experience and knowledge in handling the village’s finances and maintaining fiscal responsibility.
“I also have knowledge of and an education in state and local government policies and procedures, according to the Ohio Revised Code,” Trout said.
Trout noted that the three most important concerns facing the village at this time is the need to continue to provide clean, inexpensive water, maintain residents’ safety by delivering 24-hour police protection seven days a week and preserve all other vital services in the village.
Whitacre is a lifelong resident of the village and a 2003 Greenon High School graduate. He has been married to his wife Brooke for six years, and has a four-year-old daughter and an eight-month-old son.
The candidate received an AS from Clark State Community College in 2006 and a BS in management from Park University in 2012, has been employed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) for seven years as a program analyst in civil engineering. Whitacre believes his position has provided him with the analytical skills that would benefit the village council.
“Being elected as a representative of this community would give me great pride, and I would do everything in my power to make sure everyone’s voice is heard,” Whitacre said. “My hope is that the decisions I would make would help make Enon even greater than it is today and a place everyone can be proud of.”
If elected, Whitacre said he would propose establishing a quarterly newsletter that would be mailed to village residents with information about council meetings. He would also like to see more involvement take place from the youth of the community.
He feels that his greatest strengths for the council position including working with large budgets at WPAFB and being fiscally responsible to his employer.
“Working in the federal government has taught me to research all of the available information I can before making decisions,” he said. “No matter how trivial the decision may be, each one we make has an effect on somebody, and I know I would do my best to look at all of the information I could before making a decision for the village.”
According to Whitacre, the three most important concerns currently facing the Village of Enon is the decrease in state funding, which has become a concern for all local governments, deterioration of roads in the village and council’s strategy to repair them and the need to attract new businesses while keeping the businesses already established in the village.
As council members face the task of decision making in 2016, the three candidates agree that voters expect their elected officials to operate in their best interest, thoroughly deliberate financial matters, and spend tax dollars in the most economical way.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.