Olentangy Valley News

Powell City Council race

Counts has kept eye on city's financial health

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Powell City Councilman Tom Counts said he trusts voters to know his record well enough to re-elect him to a third term Nov. 5.

"In our last survey, 98 percent of residents said Powell is an exceptional or better-than-average place to live, and so our ultimate goal is to maintain that -- and I think the first thing we need to do to maintain that is to maintain our fiscal responsibility," he said.

That fiscal responsibility is something Counts, as the finance committee leader, said he has had an active hand in.

"We went through one of the most difficult economic times in our current history, and every year I've been on council we've had a balanced budget," Counts said. "Because of our fiscal conservatism in running the city, we were able to get through that without cutting services, without doing any kinds of the drastic measures that so many other communities had to do, and that's something that I'm very proud of."

Counts also was a driving force behind the bond issue voters passed in November 2012. He was responsible for preparing the campaign and promoting it to voters. He said he'd like to continue his work on council to see some of the infrastructure projects that 1.8-mill bond will be able to fund, including the Murphy Parkway extension, bike-path connections, the new Seldom Seen Park and maintenance of roads and sewers.

"Those are the things that I think our residents want and need in terms of keeping this an exceptional community, and I've been working hard on those things over the last eight years and I want to continue to do that in the next four," he said.

Continued development in the city is a cause for the additional infrastructure needs Counts would like to see through. He said his vision for the future development of the city would include housing that's alternative to the typical single-family detached homes and businesses, that serve the segments that aren't currently being met.

When it comes to annexing land for development and working with Liberty Township to ensure no feathers are ruffled by city development, Counts said he'd like to see both parties refer to the Cooperative Economic Development Agreement that he said council should continue to revise.

Counts is one of seven candidates for four available seats on Powell City Council. Voters will see his name on the Nov. 5 ballot along with the names of incumbent council members Sara Marie Brenner, Jim Hrivnak and Brian Lorenz, and candidates Francis Bertone, Sarah Minto and Daniel Swartwout.

Prior to serving on council, Counts spent five years on the city's board of zoning appeals, followed by five years on the planning and zoning commission.

He said his history of city service is ultimately what sets him apart from other candidates.

"Since I've lived here, for 18 years, I've been involved in city government," Counts said. "You don't do it because of the praise, the notoriety and clearly not for the salary that we receive. I do it because I want to be a public servant and maintain Powell as an exceptional city."

Counts, 52, is an attorney and serves on council's finance and operations committees. He said 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 two daughters who attend Olentangy Liberty High School.

Voters who would like to learn more about Counts may email him at tcounts@columbus.rr.com.

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