Gahanna City Council race
Incumbents to face challengers in four ward seats in Nov. 5 election
Gahanna residents will have a choice of candidates for each of the city's four council ward seats, with three options for Ward 4.
The General Election is Nov. 5, but early and absentee voting starts Oct. 1.
The following is a breakdown of the races for each ward:
Ward 1: Kautz, Renner
Incumbent Stephen Renner is being challenged by Ray Kautz, who was unsuccessful in his bid for an at-large council seat in 2011.
Kautz, 24, is employed at ToolTex Inc. in Grove City as a financial analyst/project manager.
"I'm running to appropriate city expenditures sustainably and work within the current city tax code," he said. "Preparing a budget is an essential part of my position at ToolTex, and ongoing tracking of job progress is key.
"This will translate well to city projects and gross expenditures to help eliminate wasteful spending and give the residents the most for each dollar spent."
Kautz said he's against the proposed city tax increase and will work to fill the budget shortfall through smart cuts.
Renner, 47, is director for the department of sanitary engineering in Franklin County. He currently is council president.
"I decided to run for re-election because I wanted to continue progress made in three main areas: to ensure funds are dedicated to improving Ward 1 infrastructure, such as streets and signs; encourage appropriate development; and ensure we have a sustainable city for the long term."
Renner said he enjoys helping people within the community, whether that is being an advocate for a cause or simply directing them to a specific department within City Hall.
"My wife and I have lived on the west side for 15 years, and we love this side of Gahanna," he said.
Ward 2: Schnetzer, Wright
Voters will see a rematch between Michael Schnetzer and incumbent Brandon Wright. The two ran against each other in 2011, when Wright won by a handful of votes
Schnetzer, 32, is a director/municipal analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.
"Our city has reached an economic crossroads like other cities across the country which are still struggling to rise from a deep recession," he said. "During this time, we need financial expertise on council to help create and implement sound fiscal policies.
"I firmly believe my extensive professional experience as a municipal financial analyst would be an invaluable asset as the city is determining how to maximize Gahanna's financial resources."
Should the voters reject the proposed income-tax proposal in November, Schnetzer said, it will be of paramount importance to have someone on council who has analyzed how other cities have navigated the current economic malaise.
Wright, 33, is a commercial loans analyst.
"I am running for re-election to see the completion of all the projects and efficiencies that we have put in place to move Gahanna forward to make it a great place to live," Wright said. "I have also been a strong advocate for the citizens of Ward District 2."
Ward 3: Demro, Larick
Incumbent Brian Larick is being challenged by Ryan Patrick Demro.
Larick, 44, works in financial services/technology as an engineer for JPMorgan Chase.
"Our family, as longtime residents of Gahanna, chose to raise our children in this strong community," he said. "By working with other community leaders with decades of experience, I have gained valuable insight on how to move our city forward and implement policies that will result in efficient and effective local government."
Larick said he would focus on basic services, such as roads, maintenance and safety services, while working to ensure that such improvements as parks and trails continue to be what's expected in Gahanna.
Demro, 34, is an inner-city high school teacher at Academy for Urban Scholars and is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve.
"City Council is in dire need of new leadership," he said. "As a teacher, veteran and former city councilman, I bring unique experiences that can help lift the city out of its financial mess and ensure that critical services are maintained at appropriate levels."
Demro is a former Lakewood City Council member.
Ward 4: Anderson, Gergley, Leeseberg
Beryl Anderson, 54, is seeking a fourth term as Ward 4 council representative.
She's being challenged by Joseph Gergley and James David Leeseberg.
Gergley ran for a council seat in 2011 in Ward 2 against Schnetzer and Wright, but he since has moved to Ward 4.
Anderson works as a consultant and motivational speaker (legacy of legendary Rosa Parks). She traveled throughout the United States and Caribbean with Parks and her Legacy Team for the historic Quiet Strength Tour.
"I decided to run for re-election for a fourth term to share my legal, business and leadership experience to make a difference in the community I love -- Gahanna, Ohio," Anderson said. "I also want to provide institutional continuity to this relatively new City Council, particularly as we face challenging economic times."
Gergley, 25, works in distributor relations for Boars Head.
"I'm running because I believe Gahanna needs a real fiscal conservative leader on City Council," he said. "While the city makes cuts, we should be targeting waste, not essential services or community events.
"We have local leaders trying to make cuts as painful as possible, and this is unacceptable. I grew up here in Gahanna and know the people of this community deserve better. I firmly believe this city needs a restoration, not a transformation."
Leeseberg, 43, works as the engineering manager for CESO Inc. in the Columbus office.
"As a civil engineer, I'm in front of planning and zoning boards and city councils for work," he said. "I thought being on council would be a great way to give back to the city while doing something I have experience with."
Coming from the development/construction side of projects, Leeseberg said, he's familiar with schedules and budgets.
"The city has budget issues, and I'm concerned about recent and proposed cuts to the capital improvement fund," he said. "Cutting these projects now balances the budget but will create larger problems later."