Although many Heath residents fighting the city's traffic cameras are calling for change in office, both mayoral candidates say the job is about more than just traffic enforcement.

Although many Heath residents fighting the city's traffic cameras are calling for change in office, both mayoral candidates say the job is about more than just traffic enforcement.

Still, the cameras issue will be on the ballot.

Mayor Richard Waugh, who was appointed to replace Dan Dupps in April 2007, faces challenger Mark Johns in a nonpartisan race.

Waugh said he is running for his first full term because "there are a lot of good things going on in the city. I've started many things, and I'd like to follow through with some ideas."

Waugh said the city would get a new water tower on the south side of town in the next year to help spur economic development in that area. The city also has worked to improve Thornwood Drive, which is considered another important industrial corridor. In 2012-2013, Thornwood Drive will be widened, again to help with future development, Waugh said.

"I want to see that through," he said. "That will be good for the city."

He has worked with several city budgets since his appointment. He also has negotiated contracts with local unions.

"I'm proud of the fact that we have a good working relationship with our union members," he said.

Waugh also worked to upgrade the city's Web site to make it more user-friendly, he said. He also increased the number of business visits in an effort to keep existing businesses in Heath.

He initiated the "Pride" and "Progress" programs in Heath. The Progress group helps incorporate technology that would benefit residents and businesses. The Pride group is working to provide Heath with distinctive signs and businesses to make the city stand out.

Under his tenure, Waugh said, he worked with the Davis-Shai House on an expansion and recently entered into a lease agreement on 40 acres near the Forry Preserve, providing an access point to the preserve.

Waugh left his job in insurance when elected and has been a full-time mayor since 2007. He is the father of four children.

Johns, a newcomer to the public-office arena, said he decided to run for election because he is concerned about the city's direction.

"I feel like we need to focus on what's going to make our city strong in the next 20 years from today and 30 years from today," Johns said.

Johns said he wants to create more jobs, possibly working with Heath City Council to create an economic-development fund. He said he also would like to see the formation of a Heath business association that would work as a conduit to government.

A software project manager for Fiserv and father of two in Heath City Schools, Johns said his work skills in remotely managing accounts has helped hone his communication skills and makes him a good candidate for mayor.

"Working with clients remotely, communication is key," he said.

The 38-year-old has a degree in journalism from Ohio University and has lived in Heath for six years.

He and his family returned to Ohio after living out of state and decided to live in Heath.

Thus far while campaigning, he said, he has heard people are excited about the possibility of having new leadership.

"I'm optimistic about Heath's economic future and think if we are aggressive and creatively do what needs to be done, we can bring quality jobs to the city," he said.

Having been asked about the traffic cameras, Waugh defends the city's decision to install them.

"I think photo enforcement cameras are a good idea for the city of Heath. It's a useful tool for the police department," Waugh said.

He said speeding and red-light violations are down 66 percent, and Fire Chief Mark Huggins is reporting fewer accidents accidents.

"We're trying to make the streets safer for the residents and those who visit the city," Waugh said.

Johns said that if he had been mayor, he probably wouldn't have installed cameras. He said the police department is understaffed and that he wants that issue addressed.

"These are not solutions," Johns said. "The symptoms of the problem don't go away with cameras."

He said he has issues with the city's appeals process and the $100 fines but said he hopes city officials could use money from fines to spur economic development.