Loren Stuckert, Mark McKay vie for council president nod on GOP ballot


Mark McKay


Loren Stuckert


Also on the May 2 primary elections ballots for the City of Wilmington are:

REPUBLICAN

TREASURER (vote for 1)

Paul Fear

COUNCIL AT LARGE (vote for 3)

Carter Cockman

William Liermann

Chris Walls

COUNCIL, 1st WARD (vote for 1)

Jonathan McKay

COUNCIL, 2nd WARD (vote for 1)

Loren L. Stuckert II

COUNCIL, 3rd WARD (vote for 1)

Kristi Fickert

COUNCIL, 4th WARD (vote for 1)

Matt Purkey

WILMINGTON —Two Wilmington City Council members — Mark McKay and Loren Stuckert — are competing for the Republican nod for President of Council in the May 2 primary election.

“The legislative authority of the City is vested in a seven-member council whose members are elected to two-year terms,” according to the City of Wilmington’s website. “The Council enacts ordinances and resolutions to provide for city services, to levy taxes, to make appropriations, to borrow money, to fix salaries of all employees of the City, whether elected or appointed, to adopt a budget and to perform such other duties and exercise such other rights as may be granted to the legislative authority of any municipality of the State.

“The President of Council is elected for a two-year term and presides at all regular and special meetings of the Council although he has no vote therein except in case of a tie. The President of Council also serves as the Acting Mayor in the absence or disability of the Mayor.”

The News Journal asked each candidate to complete a questionnaire prior to the election. Below are their unedited responses.

MARK McKAY

AGE: 69

OCCUPATION: Owner, Office Supply Company

EDUCATION: Wilmington High School, Class of 1965; Ohio State University, BS, 1970

PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican

OFFICE YOU ARE SEEKING: Wilmington Council President

Why do you feel you are the strongest candidate for this position?

A lifetime of experience: 16 years on City Council. Have chaired and/or worked on every Council Committee. I have seen many changes in Wilmington, including Davids Drive, Lowes Drive, the Ahresty Connector and the SR 73 Bypass. I have seen DHL come … and go. I have seen the annexation of the AirPark and our slow, steady climb back toward the economic engine we once were.

Council President helps to create the face of Council by: Chairing Council Meetings – Helping to make sure all agenda items are covered in a thorough and effective way. Enables all Council member’s views to be heard. Assures that citizen comments are respected, timely and to the point. Assigns the Committee Chairs. Is acting Mayor in the Mayor’s absence. Has the tie breaking vote if ever needed. Works with Law Director to be sure that agenda items are dispensed with in a manner that is legal and expeditious.

Most importantly, helps Council present a professional appearance to the public.

With my background and institutional knowledge of Council and the life experiences I have gained with a lifetime in Wilmington, I know that I can fulfill this next role in my public life in a highly successful manner.

What do you think are the top two issues facing the City of Wilmington in the near future and what will you do, if elected, to help resolve these?

We have things to do to bring this city back to where we would like to be. We are making many of the right choices to make that happen. An earnings tax was passed in the last election by the citizens of this community. These citizens believe in investing in the future! This tax, when coupled with earnings from an increasing employment base, should get back on our feet. If everything goes right, the tax will expire in 5 years.

When a prospective employer is looking for a new business location, they want to feel that the city they are considering is going to reach out and help them and provide a quality of life their employees will enjoy.

The two issues I feel are most important are:

Fiscal Responsibility

The citizens of Wilmington have invested in the city by passing a 5-year 0.5% earnings tax. This tax was created to help the city:

Create and institute an aggressive street maintenance plan that will insure that our streets are properly repaired and maintained. This plan will place our streets on a maintenance rotation that will make certain that they do not fall into disrepair in future years.

Help maintain funding for Police and Fire; to insure they have adequate personnel, equipment and training to always meet citizen’s safety needs.

Insure that we have adequate annual carryover fund balances in the General Fund to move toward elimination of the tax in 5-years.

Quality of Life

Quality of life could be described as things people like about their town. Many things help enrich the quality of life of our citizens expect; street maintenance, the quality and diversity of our parks and trails, city services of Water, Sewer and Sanitation, Police and Fire Safety Services. It is also made up of the appearance of the downtown, shopping and entertainment opportunities.

As a City, we must always weigh our choices by being aware of the impact that these will have on Quality of Life of our citizens. That is why I have always been an advocate of programs like Main Street Wilmington, the Wilmington Tree Commission, and the Wilmington City Parks.

We have been a great little town for over 200 years and I’m confident that, with the proper leadership, we can continue to be a “destination” for residents, merchants and visitors for many years to come.

LOREN STUCKERT

AGE: 73

OCCUPATION: Retired

EDUCATION: A.A. University of Cincinnati, B.A. Northern Kentucky University, Ashland University (Graduate Studies)

PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican

OFFICE YOU ARE SEEKING: Wilmington Council President

Why do you feel you are the strongest candidate for this position?

I am able to accurately identify and prioritize issues that we face as a community. Further, I am able to articulate these issues and their solutions in a manner that is easy to understand.

With the voice I would have as President of Council, I could provide all parties with the relevant facts needed to make the wisest and most prudent decisions possible given the revenues provided by our hard working citizens.

I am keenly aware of the hard work behind every dime our citizens provide and I am passionate about government’s responsibility to steward those funds in a manner that both honors their labor with the best city services possible and respects their opinions on the exact needs they want us to meet.

What do you think are the two issues facing the city of Wilmington in the near future and what will you do, if elected, to help resolve these?

The top two issues we face in the near future mirror those faced by every generation of Councils and Citizens. They are, what are the top services needed from city government and how can they be provided with the revenues citizens can reasonably afford to provide.

In Wilmington, those services are: Safety (Police and Fire), Water, Sewer, Streets, Parks, and Cemetery. Our citizens give us the revenues to provide these services with Fees (Utility Bills), Property Taxes (Levies), and an Income Tax.

Citizens recently voted (narrowly) to provide an extra .5% of their income (for 5 years) to cover a shortfall created by an economic downturn which substantially reduced revenues from their incomes. The temporary tax was passed with a commitment by Council that the increased revenue would be used to: Stabilize the city budgets, Restore a functional carry-over balance in the General Fund, and Establish a line item for an annual program for restoring city streets.

I believe the stated goals can be met and the temporary tax eliminated in 5 years if city government stays focused on the stated goals; however, a recent action does not bode well for their ability to so. I refer to the recent passage of a resolution to fluoridate our water supply at a start up cost of at least $315,200 to be taken out of the Water Utility’s Operating funds.

I was on the Council that agreed to place a new $5 tap fee on water bills so that the Water Utility’s Operating funds could be stabilized. Now already, another Council has yielded to the temptation to “tap” into the newly refreshed fund to make a Capital expenditure for a project that I still do not feel was adequately vetted in the public arena.

In any case, I offer this example to illustrate the need to have voices advocating for a solid focus on government’s responsibility to properly allocate city funds by giving top priority to fulfilling the original purposes for which the funds were intended. I believe one very good place for such a voice would be in the position of President of City Council.

To this end, I pledge that if elected, I will endeavor to make certain that all parties are fully informed with regard to actions being considered and the ultimate impact of the actions upon the revenues being supplied by taxes and fees on our citizens.

http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/web1_primary-elections-clip-art.jpg

Mark McKay
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/web1_Mark-McKay.jpgMark McKay

Loren Stuckert
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/web1_Loren-Stuckert.jpgLoren Stuckert

Also on the May 2 primary elections ballots for the City of Wilmington are:

REPUBLICAN

TREASURER (vote for 1)

Paul Fear

COUNCIL AT LARGE (vote for 3)

Carter Cockman

William Liermann

Chris Walls

COUNCIL, 1st WARD (vote for 1)

Jonathan McKay

COUNCIL, 2nd WARD (vote for 1)

Loren L. Stuckert II

COUNCIL, 3rd WARD (vote for 1)

Kristi Fickert

COUNCIL, 4th WARD (vote for 1)

Matt Purkey

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