New Albany News

Plain Township trustees

Hennebert takes on incumbents Ferguson, Rybski

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Political newcomer Brad Hennebert will challenge incumbents Dave Ferguson and Tom Rybski for a seat on the Plain Township board of trustees in the Nov. 5 election.

Hennebert, 40, has a bachelor's degree in business administration, a master's degree in business administration and is a certified public accountant.

He is the owner of New Albany Tax and Accounting and the accounting director for the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County.

Hennebert is married with one son.

Ferguson, 51, has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Ashland University and a master's degree in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis. He also has received continuing education from Northwestern University and the London School of Economics.

He is a managing director of planning and financial services for the American Electric Power Co. and is married with four children.

Ferguson has served six years on the board of trustees. He was first appointed to the board in 2008. He was elected to a four-year term in 2009.

Ferguson currently serves as chairman of the board of trustees.

Rybski, 58, has a bachelor's of science degree from Ohio State University and is president of P&L Systems, a civil engineering and surveying firm in Westerville.

He is married with two children.

Rybski was appointed to the board in May 2012 after Bud Zappitelli resigned to become fiscal officer. He will run for his first elected term.

The three candidates were asked if the township can be fiscally responsible while providing necessary services to residents.

All agreed that township can do so.

Ferguson and Rybski said the board of trustees has been fiscally responsible.

"As a trustee, I have been and will continue to be a good steward of our community's tax dollars," Ferguson said. "The township has a balanced budget every year and continues to pass Franklin County's audit review with no material issues.

"Our fire department and administrative staff for the township office are fiscally sound and have strict controls for their annual budgets that provide essential services for our community. Our fire department, parks, cemetery, pool and roads provide excellent service while benchmarking our costs to other communities to ensure our township is providing the best value for our residents."

Rybski said he has "worked diligently to see that the township operates within the annually evaluated, conservative budget. This process has allowed the township to build a reserve fund available to help deliver to the residents of Plain Township the necessary services."

He said major line items in the budget are: the Plain Township Fire Department, the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, the Rocky Fork Metro Park, roads and infrastructure, Maplewood Cemetery and the Plain Township Aquatic Center.

Hennebert said the township's revenues are from property taxes and other taxes and the "large majority of the expenses are for the Plain Township Fire Department."

"Prudent fiscal stewardship is taking measures to ensure that expenses do not exceed revenues," Hennebert said.

The candidates also were asked if they have any concerns about services as the city of New Albany expands its business campuses in Franklin and Licking counties.

Ferguson said he will continue to evaluate the fire department's "cost of providing emergency services as our business campuses expand into Jersey Township and Licking County.

"I have been proactively working to ensure Plain Township fire services are provided to support our community's growth," Ferguson said. "We are also working with the city of New Albany and other stakeholders to juristically align emergency services and the cost for services provided. The growth in the business park is exciting and good for our community."

Rybski said the expansion of the business parks in Franklin and Licking counties "will impact the township."

He said with correct planning, the business-campus expansion will benefit the community.

"By working together, the entities with vested interests can ensure that we realize the benefits from expansion of the business campus," Rybski said. "The Plain Township Fire Department will be called upon to respond to the increasing population of the business campus. As a trustee, I will make sure the department's inevitable growth is financially supported, proportionately, by those who benefit from the fire department's growth."

Hennebert said as the city of New Albany expands, the need for township fire department services might also increase.

"The fire department is primarily funded through property taxes, so the businesses occupying new facilities will share in any expanded costs through the property taxes in Franklin County," Hennebert said. "As New Albany expands into surrounding counties, the township will remain inside the Franklin County line."

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