XENIA — Xenia residents will have plenty of options when voting for city council Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Seven — one incumbent and six challengers — are vying for two open seats. Current councilmember Wes Smith is seeking re-election, while Billie Carrico, Edward A. Council III, Levi P. Dean, Dennis R. Propes, Phillip R. Shaw, and Eric VA Winston are the newcomers.
A third councilmember will be appointed in 2018 as current councilmember Sarah Mays is running unopposed for Xenia mayor. Her seat will be filled via majority vote of council.
In a questionnaire sent to all candidates, Smith said increasing the city’s tax base and maintaining city services are among the important issues for the city. Council, a long-time Xenia resident, is concerned with the city’s finances and said reducing “waste or inappropriate spending and increasing our tax base” are among the top issues facing the city. Dean, a lifelong resident of Xenia, said the city needs to explore alternatives ways of increasing revenue instead of raising taxes.
Shaw, who has lived in Xenia for the last 17 years, said the city must work with the schools to make Xenia an attractive place for new businesses and new residents. Winston, who previously served on council for 14 years, said Xenia must increase its population, increase the number of jobs, and improve cultural and recreational offerings. Carrico said a lack of teamwork has cracked the city’s foundation, which makes the city look bad.
Question 1 – Why are you the right candidate for this seat?
“I am Xenia born and raised. I am a successful business owner/realtor. I am passionate about my hometown and its success. I have been a part of many city projects including First Fridays, Downtown Revitalization Project, historical building project, chamber events etc. I have worked with the youth in different positions including baseball, cheerleading, Hip Hop, boosters, PTOs and more. I have experience working and managing small business in Xenia. I am very familiar with the city and the small businesses within it. I am ready to lead Xenia into a bright future. I am not a yes ma’am or a yes sir. I am an independent thinker and a concerned citizen, just like you.”
Question 2 – What is the most important issue facing this office going forward and what solutions do you have to offer voters for this issue?
”The lack of teamwork, the current council has. The foundation is cracked. The last two years this council has been against each other. It reflects poorly on our city as a whole. Our current leaders are not looking out for the citizens or just not hearing them. The wasteful spending of our tax dollars is ridiculous. I suggest to voters, to make a change. Put in office the ones listening to you, the candidate that speaks what your thinking. The candidate that wants to listen and consider all council members ideas. The candidate that wants to make Xenia a hometown again. The candidate that wants lower taxes, better streets, youth programs with scholarship, committees and organized structure for our small businesses. Pleas consider voting for me, Billie Carrico on Nov. 7. I will not let you down.”
Edward A. Council
Q1 – “I believe I am the best candidate for the Xenia City Council, based on living in this City for over 27 years, rising my family and running a business here and by being able to bring a wide range of managerial and technical skills to this position such that we can take a new more positive direction for the City. This experience has allowed me to focus on identifying issues that need to be addressed in the fastest and most cost-effective manner, recognizing potential unintended consequences of the various different solutions and providing the guidance needed to resolve an issue and move on to the next. Over the last year I have been going to the City Council meeting and taking an in-depth review of the Council’s actions. Many of their decisions are or will likely prove to be bad to the citizens of our community either by degrading our quality of life or reducing the growth needed to restore the fiscal health of our community. In a nut shell I want our City to move forward and not continue on the failing pathway that we are currently moving to.”
Q2 – “The most important issue facing our community deals with the financial health of our City. The Ohio State Auditor has identified several critical fiscal issues that need to be fixed now. Most of these are grouped around the problems associated with the City’s current spending levels verses the money provided by our tax base. To resolve this issue, the City needs to focus on reducing waste or inappropriate spending and increasing our tax base to be more in line with our future financial needs. This requires a new direction for the City where companies providing higher paying white collar jobs should be the focus of our City Development Department instead of chasing lower paying businesses. With or without a change in our short term financial future, the City also needs to keep its promises to deal with improving our community streets. Unfortunately, the City is trying to leverage the $100,000s we agreed to spend on our residential roads, via the tax levy of 2011, to partially fund large Ohio DOT projects located around Walmart and elsewhere. We should focus those taxes such that they can only be used to fix the problems we were told they would fix.”
Q1 – “As a lifelong resident of Xenia and one of ten children, my parents taught me at an early age the values of honesty, hard work and entrepreneurship. Currently, I’m employed in the family business, Dean’s Plumbing. If elected, I will bring these same values and work ethic to city government. In an era of tight budgets and tough spending decisions, I believe we need new representation on city council who will put the residents of Xenia first and is not beholden to powerful or corrupt political interests. I’m that person. I believe I have the commitment and fiscal discipline necessary to serve you well as a city councilman.”
Q2 – “I’m proud of my commitment to representing Xenia citizens in city government, opposing tax increases, offering alternatives to help create new revenue sources for city operations, promoting safer streets, improving neighborhoods, rebuilding our infrastructure and creating jobs in the City of Xenia. For years, career politicians have engaged in expensive tax-and-spend policies without really considering the alternatives available to operate local governments. I will oppose efforts to raise taxes or fees and will look for ways to eliminate the fat and duplication in city government spending so our taxes and fees can be reduced.
Yes, government requires funds to operate but elected officials have an obligation to the public to consider ways to reduce costs. Most never do. One excellent way is to utilize shared services with neighboring communities. Another great option is the consolidation of spending programs of similar nature and then reducing the bureaucratic overhead. I will aggressively promote both of these solutions as a city councilman.”
Phillip R. Shaw
Q1 – “I bring a fresh view to the council. My wife and I have lived in Xenia the past 17 years. I have lived in Greene County most of my life. I have been in transportation management the past 29 years and believe this will be very beneficial to the needs that Xenia faces. I am and have always been team-orientated. I believe team concepts should be used to promote Xenia. A Council that works together will mean a so much to bring Xenia out of the current stagnant growth that it has experienced for decades.”
Q2 – “Some would say the streets are at the top of the list, I don’t disagree. However, long-term, we must work with the schools to make Xenia an attractive place for new businesses and new residents. Xenia growing is the only way ‘all’ the issues can get solved. A top notch school system is what the new businesses and residents are looking for. I believe we must put in place a recruiting system to reach out to companies looking for a home. This will require hiring a position. This position would be paid for ten-fold with just one large company. We “Do Not” need higher taxes, we need more taxpayers!”
Q1 – “Experience. I have served two terms for the City of Xenia on city council and wish to continue to serve the residents and the business community. With Mayor Bayless and Councilmember Jeane Mills retiring, we are losing 20 years of leadership and experience. There is a learning period in government, you have to deal with all levels of people. My experience as a business owner (betterImages photo services) has helped me interact in the community in a positive manner. I have been blessed working with great people and enjoy giving back to the community. I am pro-active and positive when I represent the City of Xenia. I respect those around me, even if we differ in opinion.
We have a great community and I am proud of what we have accomplished together (Splash Pad, park improvements, road program, great police and EMS services). I am grateful the residents have given me their trust these eight years and I look forward to working even harder to help make Xenia an even better city.”
Q2 – “Maintain or expand on city services, such as street repair, infrastructure improvements, and continued water quality so we can continue to bring new developments to our city. By increasing our tax base and generating job creation, we can shift the burden from property and income tax to help fund more improvements to our city. I would encourage residents and businesses to continue to shop for goods and services in our community as we lose revenue to larger cities such as Beavercreek.”
Eric VA Winston
Q1 – “I am the right candidate for several reasons. I served on the council for 14 years during which time I served as President of Council on two occasions. I know the job and what it takes to do to be successful. I am a person who brings people together and creates consensus within groups. I did it on council I can do it now. Having been afforded the opportunity to travel when I served a Vice president of Wilberforce University I have seen successful communities address many of the issues they face. I believe that in many cases we can replicate those success here in Xenia. I am the right person because I care about Xenia. I have lived here for 38 years and have been active in the community since arriving. I served as President of the Rotary Club which has numerous programs benefit the city. I also served as the Chair of the Board of the Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce.”
Q2 – “There are three pressing issues that face our city. Population Stagnation. We have hovered around 25000 to 26,000 people for many years. This stagnation does not provide for tax growth. Jobs. We must increase the number of jobs in our city paying a living wage. This is essential as it is key to our need to increase tax revenues without increasing taxes for our citizens. We must improve our Cultural and Recreational Offerings. My plan is to call for joint meetings between the city government, the chamber of commerce, and the Xenia City School’s Board to spearhead efforts to address these issues. Bringing new citizens into the city, providing jobs paying a living wage and ensuring that the city has excellent cultural and recreational offering cuts across these all of these areas. We must have a united front so that they all buy into the plan that is developed. Successful communities have these three entities operating in unison.”
Dennis R. Propes
Questionnaire not returned.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.