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Austintown trustee candidates seek future growth



Published: Wed, October 23, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Kalea Hall

news@vindy.com

AUSTINTOWN

All five candidates running for two open positions on the township board of trustees want to see more growth.

Incumbent Jim Davis, 36; former trustee Kenneth Carano, 69; Bruce Shepas, 40; Robert Raymond, 53; and Dave Stryffeler, 53; all contend they are the ones to continue township growth responsibly.

“This is the time right now where Austintown is moving into a new era, but wants to stay in old tradition,” Carano said.

Carano was a trustee from 1996 to 2001. He went on to become a state representative until 2007. Carano said he decided to run again because he’s experienced in government and believes it is important for Austintown to have an experienced person in office, especially with the development of the Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

Penn National, the company building the racino, will provide $1 million for infrastructure for 2014 and 2015, and then $500,000 each year as long as the facility remains open.

Carano said he doesn’t agree with the current board of trustees when it comes to the racino.

“The point is, don’t take money right now,” Carano said. “Don’t spend the money before they are open.”

The joint economic development district, or JEDD, offered by the city of Youngstown earlier this year was a major topic of discussion in Austintown. A JEDD allows the city to provide water services and other infrastructure to the township at a taxed cost. Income tax from racino employees would be shared by the city and the township.

Such a deal would bring additional funding to both communities, but the township trustees repeatedly turned down the JEDD.

“The idea is, if you run away from any offerings, you are an amateur, not a professional,” Carano said.

Davis contends, however, the JEDD would have been detrimental to the racino project, which is why the trustees were vehemently against it. Davis did sit down and talk with Mayor Charles Sammarone about the JEDD.

“The city of Youngstown could have cost the Mahoning Valley this project,” Davis said. “If it wasn’t for our [the trustees] continued support, Penn National could have left.”

Davis said any further decisions about a JEDD should be decided by Austintown voters.

Davis was elected in 2009 and began serving in January 2010.

If re-elected, Davis hopes to continue to support both the police and fire departments, reinforce land-use policies and nuisance laws, develop more parks events and work with other communities in the Valley on projects such as the joint-paving project among Canfield, Boardman and Austintown townships.

“I’ve always been an advocate of being proactive instead of reactive,” Davis said.

Shepas is running on his honest character and ability to be a leader, public servant and businessman. He wants to support any new business coming into Austintown, make sure the infrastructure is there to support future development and see more use of the parks and senior center.

“Austintown is going in the right direction, and I want to be a part of it,” Shepas said.

Like the current trustees, Shepas is against a JEDD.

“This [the racino] is big for everyone,” Shepas said. “I know it will bring in jobs to the community, and one of the biggest priorities is infrastructure.”

Raymond also believes he is the person to lead the township because of his business background.

“I see a little bit of missed opportunities from the department heads,” Raymond said.

He would like to see more action within the parks system, which he believes is understaffed. In fact, he suggests a levy might be necessary to continue maintaining the parks. The current trustees, Raymond said, are so focused on the monies coming in from the racino they haven’t thought of other state and local grant opportunities to benefit the parks system and other areas of the township.

Raymond also feels the trustees were “irresponsible” in how they dealt with the JEDD.

“I don’t have any confidence in the leadership we have now,” Raymond said.

Stryffeler would like to continue his contributions to the community. He also believes the growth of the township needs to be properly managed. When it comes to a JEDD, Stryffeler said if it is needed, then why not take it?

“I will definitely like to sit down with the mayor,” Stryffeler said.

Like all the candidates, Stryffeler is all for removing any blight that hurts neighborhoods. He also would like to maintain the safety services in the township, develop the senior center and township parks and attract new business.

“I think I have a better skill set,” Stryffeler said. “I have not endorsed anyone. I am just running on my merit.”

In addition to the trustee race, there also are three candidates running for the position of fiscal officer. The incumbent, Laura Wolfe,45, has been in office since January 2012. Dale Basista, 56, and Mark Cole, 44, also are running for the position.


Comments

1msweetwood(161 comments)posted 10 months, 1 week ago

The bad headline has been fixed.

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

Suggest removal:

2piwohio(56 comments)posted 10 months, 1 week ago

I have made Austintown my home for the past 16 years. I am happy to have found this wonder township to make my home, raise my 2 sons who attended Austintown schools. I have seen the growth and this township make it through some hard times. I became involved in the local politics and organizations to give back to my township.
Mr. Carano- When is enough just simply enough. You have lived off from Austintown long enough.
Austintown Teacher- local, state and federal money (Retired)
Austintown Bingo- American Legion 301 license to which you give little back from what you make. Open the books and prove me wrong.
Austintown Trustee- Austintown tax money AND YOU QUIT…remember..
State Rep- local, state funded
State appointments- local, state funded
NOW- Back for more money
You are a proud supported of the Democratic Chairman of Mahoning County. Hanging your sign on the Democratic Party tent at the Canfield Fair. And this is a NON partisan election. Don’t bring Dave B’s black eye to Austintown. For the record I am a Democratic. Now you want back into the pockets of Austintown and support JEDD with Ditzler. Who by the way was all against it when we paid for his services for how many years? Now he wants in our pockets. The duel rides again part 2 ???
Mr. Raymond – Well you’re honest, you want a levy. More money from our pockets. But have no confidence in the current Trustees. So do you have confidence in the Austintown Department Heads? Because the Trustees approved the hiring of these good people.
Mr. Stryffeler- You are middle of the road on JEDD. Easy way out sir. You also would like to maintain the safety services in the township develop the senior center and township parks and attract new business. News Flash- Our parks are very well developed, the best safety forces I feel in the county and run very well. Senior Center is developed or did you mean expand the usage. And if so with what funding?? I support the Center, just it needs to be a little self- supporting.
Mr. Davis- Had my doubts about you. You have done well, I want more from you if you win. Be a leader. But I feel you need to keep your personal life cleaned up if you’re representing my township.
Mr. Shepas- You’re a business owner, you’re a Federal Law Enforcement Officer, lifelong Austintown man. 40 with energy. Speak your mind from what I have read and heard. Disapproves of JEDD. And you seem to have a vision, no past bad habits and new ideas. I know the oath you have taken by being a LEO. Back round check every 5 years, tested at any time for drug use. You have my vote sir.
Maybe this should happen to all of our elected officials. Our safety forces are and why should we not expect our elected leaders to be drug free. Any of you want to comment on back round checks and drug testing??
My 2 cents…..1 vote Shepas, 1 vote open.


Suggest removal:

3valleypolitics(88 comments)posted 10 months ago

@piwohio - Your 2 cents is worth exactly that!

Shepas will come in 5th out of 5, so you can be one of the two votes he gets. Congratulations

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4Ribeye2900(2 comments)posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago

piwohio - Although everyone has an opinion during election time and we all have a right to them - some opinions are based on materials at the discretion of "others" - Bob Raymond was misquoted in two areas of this article and when he respectfully asked for a written retraction and correction - it was denied. Bob is very impressed and has GREAT confidence with each and every Department Head in Austintown and has expressed that throughout his literature, his Vindy.com survey, his speaking engagements and door to door campaign. "These good people" were NOT hired by today's sitting Trustees except Todd Schaffer at the park and for THAT we had to loose our pillar of the Parks, Department Head - Joyce Gottron! Mr. Raymond made a statement that the parks had not had a replacement levy in over 30 years - and further said that the parks funding needed to be addressed and brought up to todays standards, considering all the land acquisitions, recreational equipment repairs and replacements-not including the new "Dog Park" or "Splash Pad" in his explanation. He always says his PRIORITY would be to find alternate funding - but when pushed and asked if he'd support a park levy - he said yes if all OTHER sources of funding were exhausted! You are correct - Mr Raymond is a very HONEST ! I have worked his entire campaign and he is also consistent throughout!

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5Ribeye2900(2 comments)posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago

To clarify Bob has said there were missed opportunities in our Township - but it wasn't with the Austintown Department Heads - I'll let you guess who he suggested.....

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6Dagwood(111 comments)posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Any combo of Carano, Shepas, Davis or Stryffeler will do. Sorry Casino Bob I'm not buying what your selling.

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