By kalea hall
Canfield Township has a bustling business district and a prospering housing market, but three challengers in the race for two township trustee positions all feel improvements need to be made that the two incumbents haven’t accomplished.
Trustees Marie Cartwright, 60, and Anthony Bettile, 54, disputed the claims made by the challengers, Dave Morrison, 63, Joe Paloski, 28, and Brian Governor, 46.
“Obviously, each candidate has a purpose for running,” Cartwright said.
Cartwright and Bettile have been trustees since they both were elected in 2009. Both see the need to continue with projects in the mix already, such as the installation of a 500,000-gallon water tower on U.S. Route 224 and the replacement of storm sewers in Tippecanoe Estates. Applications to the Ohio Public Works Commission were submitted for grant money.
The incumbents also would like to continue working on joint programs with other townships and Mahoning County, which are cost-effective for the township. This year, the township joined forces with Boardman and Austintown in a joint road-paving project completed by Butch and McCree Paving of Hillsville, Pa,. for more than $1 million. They have also worked with the county on the crack and sealing project.
The incumbents contend the township has remained fiscally responsible throughout the time they have been in office, but the challengers believe differently. The township usually spends about $2 million a year. In 2013, more than $3 million was allocated for the operating budget to make sure there was enough funding for projects, but every year there is a large carry-over of funds. As of Aug. 27, the township has spent more than $1 million.
“The township needs to be managed better,” Governor said.
Governor became interested in township government after the trustees attempted to nullify the agreement the Canfield Soccer Club, of which he is president, and the township had in place for 15 years because of a late payment. The soccer club was allowed to have access to the township park fields for the cost of $50,000. Trustees also were concerned about the use of the soccer park practically every day by the soccer club, even though the park is open to the public.
“He repeatedly gave us a schedule that took over the entire summer,” Bettile said.
The trustees and the soccer club finally came to an agreement in February.
A retention pond at township park is another cause of concern for both Governor and Paloski, who believe it is a safety risk for children playing soccer and running around the park. Trustees, however, had an attorney investigate whether a fence around the pond was necessary and found it not to be an issue, especially since the pond is not very deep.
“Putting up a fence would acknowledge it’s a liability,” Cartwright said.
Another concern of all the challengers is the need for better communication between the township and the residents. The lack of a township website is what they would like to address. Paloski would also like to see more plans for the future set in stone. Paloski also ran for trustee in 2011 and received 15 percent of the vote.
“We don’t have a strategic plan for the next five to 15 years,” Paloski said.
Morrison, the current zoning inspector, who has been with the township for 16 years, wants to see changes made inside the government. He believes the township should hire new employees to help the zoning inspector, as well as the township administrator, two full-time public works staff members and one part-time public works staff member. He also wants to see the zoning resolution from 1948 rewritten.
“I don’t know why they don’t want to hire secretaries or public service workers,” Morrison said.
Morrison was suspended from his position by the trustees from Aug. 29 to Sept. 9, citing use of his work computer for personal reasons. From June 12 through July 11, trustees placed a program on his computer to monitor what he was doing and to find if his claims for needing more help were accurate.
“Ever since we have been in office he said he needed help,” Bettile said. “It was to the point where he was on the computer all day.”
Morrison believes the suspension was made to discredit him. “I intend to fight it,” he said.