Olentangy Valley News

Four seats up for grabs

Late rush pushes Powell council field to seven

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Leading up to the Aug. 7 deadline to file petitions with the Delaware County Board of Elections, it looked as if three Powell City Council incumbents who were seeking re-election for four open spots would run unopposed.

But on deadline day, one more incumbent and three new challengers made their intentions known.

Frank Bertone, Sarah Minto, Daniel Swartwout and current council member Sara Marie Brenner filed at the 11th hour to join incumbents Tom Counts, Jim Hrivnak and Brian Lorenz on the ballot.

"I just felt it was a great time as any to run, because with as many seats that are open, we can start to have some good conversations," Bertone said.

Some of those topics of conversation might include Bertone's list of five priorities the city should be more focused on, including business and job growth and downtown traffic.

Bertone has worked at Nationwide for 20 years and is a member of the retirement plan sales group there. Through his work and the St. Joan of Arc Men's Club, he has volunteered for numerous causes.

As a trustee of the Lakes of Powell Homeowners Association, Bertone said he's found an interest in community matters that led to his candidacy.

"I just really feel that the more engaged you are with your community, you can certainly have a say and a voice in what needs to happen, and I'm ready to take a bigger stance with the city view," he said.

Bertone, 43, and his wife, Julie, have lived in Powell for 10 years. They have three daughters, two of whom attend Olentangy schools.

Swartwout said his 2-year-old daughter motivated him to vie for a council spot because he wants to ensure that Powell continues to be a place in which people can be proud to raise families.

"I've had a lot of experience in a lot of different fields and working with all sorts of people, and I think I can bring that experience to the city of Powell to continue to make it a great place to live," he said.

In addition to his work as an attorney at his own law firm, Swartwout is a stand-up comedian and master of ceremonies who travels across the country to perform.

Swartwout and his wife, Tasha, have lived in Powell for nine years.

Incumbents said they're running to continue what they started, whether it's specific projects or maintaining overall fiscal responsibility.

"I've spent a lot of time on the capital improvements and a lot of that stuff is going to happen in the next term, and I want to be a part of that," said Counts, who is serving his second term on council.

Projects such as the Murphy Parkway and bike-path extensions and work on downtown's Four Corners intersection top Counts' list of those he's devoted time and energy to and would like to see come to fruition while he's in office.

Counts, 52, is an attorney and serves on council's finance and operations committees. He dedicates much of his free time outside of work and council to his church, All Saints Lutheran in Worthington.

He and his wife, Carolyn, have lived in Powell for 18 years. They have two daughters who attend Liberty High School.

It's also because of the planned development in Powell that Lorenz is seeking re-election.

"I think that my educational and work background in planning and development and green construction really gives me a unique and fresh perspective to what's going on in town and it helps me contribute to the mission of the city and the things that we have going on right now," he said.

Lorenz, 40, manages a team of urban planners at WD Associates, an engineering and architecture firm in Dublin.

Prior to his 10 years with WD Associates, Lorenz worked in municipal development in Grove City and Pickerington.

Currently in his first term, Lorenz serves on council's development committee and is the chairman of the operations committee.

He and his wife, Sue, have lived in Powell for seven years. They have four children who attend Olentangy schools.

As chairman of council's development committee, Hrivnak has worked closely with proposed projects that can now move forward with the help of capital funding that was approved by voters in November.

Like Lorenz and Counts, he'd like to continue his run on council to be part of the improvements.

"I am seeking re-election in order to provide continuity to these projects that are critical to the future of Powell," he said. " It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Powell since 2004, as a two-year member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, a three-year member of the Planning and Zoning Commission and a current second-term member of City Council. It is my sincere desire to continue this service."

Hrivnak, 53, currently serves as vice president of council and president of the Powell Community Improvement Corp. He is a senior engineer at Veyance Technologies in Marysville, where he has worked for 31 years.

He and his wife, Pam, have lived in Powell for 14 years. They have two grown daughters.

Brenner said she would like to represent Powell residents for a second term to "continue being the fiscally conservative voice on council."

"I am often told by residents that they feel I am the only member of council who is listening, and I can promise that I will always do that, regardless of whether we agree in the end," she said.

"As councilwoman, I led the fight to defeat the doubling of the income taxes in 2010, helped to make sure we kept an apartment project out of Powell that could have drained the resources of our public schools and raised our tax dollars, stood up against the township when the JEDZ was proposed to target increasing taxes on public workers and ultimately raising our taxes, and supporting smart development while also helping our small businesses thrive."

A lifelong Liberty Township and Powell resident, Brenner is the owner of Engage Marketing Strategies. In addition to her membership on council's operations committee, Brenner is a radio show host and political commentator.

Brenner, 33, is married to state Rep. Andrew Brenner.

Minto could not be reached for comment.

The county board of elections was expected to certify the candidates Wednesday, Aug. 13.

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