|Running for||Austintown Trustee|
|Education||Immaculate Heart of Mary Austintown Middle School Austintown Fitch High School- Class of ‘78|
|Employer||Troymill Wood Products
17055 Kinsman Road
Manufacturers Wholesale Lumber
7000 Granger Road
Independence, Ohio 44131
|Family||Roberta “Robi” A. Raymond - Wife
Dr. Christopher A. Raymond - Son
Jennifer L. Raymond - Daughter-In-Law
Kathleen ”Kati” (Raymond) Mertel - Daughter
William J. Mertel - Son-In-Law
Chase A. Raymond - Grandson
|Family in office?||noe|
|Reasons for running||As a lifelong resident of Austintown I see pivotal changes coming to our township that need an experienced, business minded person in the role of leadership. I know that decisions made today will impact our future and that of our children. I have made my lifetime investments both financially and emotionally in Austintown and I would like to be a part of its growth and development.|
|Priorities||My focus will be the funding and improvements of Austintown's infrastructure. With 15-20 miles of road resurfacing required to just to get caught up, this will be my intention if I am elected. This is a costly, necessary priority within our township’s future plan and one that needs consideration and attention.
My priorities include reviewing and redirecting the Austintown Parks long range plan to assist in upgrading and repairing the recreational equipment and pavilions for the safety and well being of Austintown's children. I want to bring our park system and the beautification of our township to the forefront for the pride and enjoyment of the entire Austintown community.
One of my main priorities is our continued support for our safety forces to insure their increased responsibility is met with equipment, manpower and the tools needed to keep Austintown residents safe and secure.
As I drive though our township and see empty Commercial and Industrial buildings, a focused priority would be to research the facilities and try to entice new businesses into these available spaces. This is important to our community by way of job opportunities as opposed to vacant buildings. The development of new and existing Commercial and Industrial projects are a priority that can generate tax dollars while lessening the residents tax burden and benefit all Austintown residents. New businesses bring new tax dollars and I am committed to this motto.
My first hand knowledge of mineral rights and gas well leases gives me the contacts and ability to investigate these opportunities as a source of alternative funding for Austintown. Being impressed by the grant writing initiative and abilities of one of Austintown’s Department Heads; I would like to initiate a grant training program to utilize his skills township wide so that other departments might learn and benefit from his success.
|Qualifications||In the dual role of being a professional Purchasing Agent and Sales Manager, I have the ability to put a deal together and navigate my way through to its completion. Prudent decisions that I make on a daily basis affect the bottom line including efficiency, and profitability for a multi million-dollar company. Considering myself a team player, I remain an independent thinker. Professionally, I lead by example in areas of negotiation, communication, dependability and consistency, even through adversity! These last 26 years have shown me that hard work, a little imagination, cooperation between departments and loyalty are the recipe for success. I would like to apply that philosophy and my qualifications to our hometown government by becoming an Austintown Trustee.|
|Positions on the issues||Initially replacing aging infrastructure would be my first concern. At a cost of $100,000.00 per mile and 3-4 miles per year in need of resurfacing, a percentage of the additional revenue generated by the new Racino should be applied to Austintown’s infrastructure.
Additional revenue being generated from Penn National's Racino should be budgeted towards long-term capital improvements for Austintown Township. Along with road resurfacing, storm sewers, drainage and curbs, I would like to see a swift repayment of the new safety forces communication system. Our township administrative building is in need of an update and as long as there was a capital reserve for the long-term improvements, I would support this needed renovation.
I strongly feel that funding needs to be evaluated to see if opportunities exist to bring more money into the township specifically for the Austintown Park system. The existing renewal levy was passed back in 1983 when we did not have all the acreage that we have today. This 30 year old budget is not adequate when our parks have more than doubled in size over the years. We need to bring our Parks Department up to 2013 standards. Part of my plan includes exploring grant opportunities and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) forestry division to establish a forest management program that could generate alternative funding while maintaining the integrity and beauty of Austintown Parks.
JEDDs seem to be the big issue on everyone's mind in Austintown. People assume that because I did some research with neighboring communities, I have formed an opinion on a specific JEDD, of which I have not! In general, the opinion that I do have is that JEDDs can be a powerful tool that brings in additional money to a community without burdening the taxpayers. A JEDD is only as good as it’s negotiated, if it didn't benefit Austintown I would never be interested. To be closed minded on all JEDDs would be irresponsible.
Balancing Austintown’s budget while maintaining high-level services to the community from each department requires cooperation and funding. Balancing the township’s $14 million dollar budget is the most important role I will have as an Austintown Trustee. My hands on approach combined with my professional experiences can assure that tax dollars and alternative revenue is spent wisely. Understanding the limitations of a millage and burdening the taxpayers any further, I will work diligently to find alternative sources of income for Austintown. I plan to work with the Mahoning County Engineer to uncover opportunities available for county road resurfacing within Austintown Township. If elected, my plan is to further investigate and work with Ohio State Representatives to uncover the specifics of the “Rainy Day Fund” in order to return local sales tax dollars back to our community. The Ohio Stabilization Fund or “The Rainy Day Fund” that has grown from $550 million at the end of 2011 to a whopping 1.46 billion dollars on July 17th of this year as reported from Ohio Office of Budget. It is my understanding that this fund is fueled with sales tax dollars and when it reaches a predetermined watermark it spills over to the Local Government Fund. It will be my mission to find out how to lower that mark. As I said earlier there must be a capital improvement reserve in any organization, but I cannot see a “Rainy Day Fund” filled to the top when Austintown’s funding is evaporating.