Longtime Springfield Township trustee Dean Young is facing off with Jerry Michael, who has been involved in different aspects of the community for 35 years, for a seat on the Springfield Township Board of Trustees.
The Young family first settled in Springfield Township more than 100 years ago. Dean Young lives on the Historic Young farm property, a designation granted by the Ohio Historical Society when land is a homestead for a family continuously for more than 100 years. The family farm was first established by the family in the mid 1800’s.
Describe your involvement with Springfield Township: I first became involved in Springfield Township when the voting age was lowered to 18. In 1971, I was elected to a term on the Springfield Board of Education at age 19. However, relevant to today is the last 12 years that I have spent as a township trustee working proactively to make Springfield a place that families want to live, work, and enjoy. This is what I have achieved:
Making Lakefront Park a center for community recreation (playground, walking trail), and events (concerts, weddings, family picnics, Christmas light display); Upgrading of fire equipment with the purchase of two new firetrucks and replacement of ambulances; Obtaining an easement and beginning construction of the Spartan Trail; Obtaining a local library branch; Improving the Canton Road Corridor by the removal of nuisance structures (Starfire Gas station and Quonset building), removal of outdated signage, eliminate gambling operations, purchasing land for the Orndorff Nature Preserve on Springfield Lake, developing Springfield Volunteer Police Auxiliary (charter written by me) and improving neighborhoods by demolishing more than 75 nuisance (blighted/dilapidated) structures.
Why are you running?: I desire to continue my work making Springfield a great place to live. If given the opportunity, my future priorities will include: Continuing to provide strong safety services (Police and Fire); An increased road maintenance program; Developing a plan to improve the water quality of Springfield Lake; Continued efforts to obtain financial benefit from the Joint Economic Development District (JEDD); Reinstating direction to our Parks Department; Continued development of the Spartan Trail; Developing a non-profit community development corporation; and aesthetic improvements to Canton Road Corridor (lighting and landscaping).
What is the biggest issue facing Springfield? Financial constraints primarily imposed by the state legislature’s cutback in Local Government Funding, elimination of the estate tax (which went 80 percent to local governments), reduction of intangible personal property tax received by local government, and elimination of the state’s contribution of 12 and a half percent to each voted tax levy (which eased the burden on our property owners). The effect has been a net reduction in state support for Springfield Township government averaging $800,000 annually. It has also resulted in imposing a greater burden on our property owners, affecting people on fixed incomes the greatest. Dealing with these issues depends on doing the following: operating as efficiently as possible: doing more with less; developing grant opportunities for special projects; encouraging economic development to build the commercial tax base (including targeting the rehab of our main corridors and pressuring financial contribution from The Springfield-Akron JEDD District); and supporting candidates for state office that promise to restore adequate state support for local government.
Jerry Michael and his family moved to Springfield Township in 1985.
“We have been proud Springfield residents ever since,” he said.
Michael has spent many hours volunteering in a variety of ways over the years and watching his children during their band and sporting events over their school years.
“I love this community that we live in and want nothing but the best for it. This is exactly why I am running for trustee.”
Describe your involvement with the township? 35 Years of community involvement including: youth sports coaching; founding member and past Chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce; vice-chairman of the Springfield Zoning Commission; director of Rock the Docks; and Santa for Township Tree Lighting and Shop with a Cop.
Why are you running? To initiate an economic development program to increase the tax base for our township; continued support and expansion of safety forces and upgrading of outdated equipment; maintenance and improvement of township roads; and focus on youth sports activities – ball fields, children's programs, etc.
What is the biggest issue facing your township? In focusing on business development by far the greatest challenge will be the circumnavigation of JEDD. There are areas that have great potential, but we just need to determine whether or not they are zoned appropriately and explore possible development of these areas for business purposes.”