Local voters will decide contested trustee races in Etna Township and St. Albans Township when they head to the polls next week.

Local voters will decide contested trustee races in Etna Township and St. Albans Township when they head to the polls next week.

The fiscal officers for both townships are running unopposed for re-election.

Early voting for the Nov. 8 election began Oct. 4.

In Etna Township, Charles L. Hagy Sr. is challenging incumbent trustee Jeff Johnson, and fiscal officer Walter Rogers is unopposed.

Johnson, 47, lives on Summit Road in Etna Township and has a bachelor of science in electronic engineering from DeVry University.

He has lived in the community for 26 years and has worked in Pitney Bowes' service division and helps maintain the Columbia Gas of Ohio building in downtown Columbus.

Johnson said his term as trustee and 12 years serving on the township board of zoning appeals qualify him for another term.

"We've made a lot of progress in the last four years," he said. "I want to continue that progress."

Johnson said there were many issues to be addressed when he first ran for trustee, and he believes those issues are being effectively solved. In fact, he's not sure if there is one specific pressing need in the township other than preserving it as a great place to live.

"That's the whole goal," he said, "and to be fiscally responsible."

He said the country's economic woes have slowed development and given township officials time to review development plans.

Johnson said there's a need for development in the township that won't take away from its rural nature but still will provide revenue. He said it's important to maintain open communications with the surrounding municipalities that are actively seeking development, as well as the developers, so areas of the township aren't lost to annexation.

ThisWeek was unable to contact Hagy at two different phone numbers and two email addresses.

Rogers, 60, lives on Aster Court and earned a bachelor of science in economics with a minor in accounting from The Ohio State University.

He has an enrolled agent license with the IRS and is a tax accountant with Ram Services. He has lived in the community for 22 years.

Rogers believes his 15 years commercial credit experience, 24 years as a self-employed financial and management consultant and experience as Etna Township's fiscal officer since February 2010 qualify him for re-election.

He said Etna Township has made great strides in opening the lines of communication with surrounding governments. He said he is looking forward to continuing that progress in his upcoming term and he enjoys working with the Etna trustees.

Rogers said the township's most pressing need is to continue to reach out to its neighbors and work with them as opposed to cutting the township off from the rest of the region. He's proud of what's been accomplished during his tenure.

"It's been fun and invigorating," he said.

Walters said he supports bringing in commercial development.

"You can't base a community solely on residential development," he said. "You need a balance to the tax base."

However, he believes it's important for the township to stick with its plan to separate large commercial development - keeping it south of I-70 - from Etna's residential areas so the rural nature can be maintained.

In St. Albans Township, Randal Almendinger, Bruce Kean and Michael Wayne Morrison are challenging incumbent trustee Beth Beem. Fiscal officer Bridgett Reeves is running unopposed.

Almendinger, 52, lives on Duncan Plains Road in Alexandria, and he graduated from Johnstown-Monroe High School and Ashland University.

He said he grew up two miles from where he's lived for more than 25 years. Almendinger retired from The Columbus Dispatch and is now owner and publisher of Heartland Communications, which publishes five weekly newspapers.

Almendinger said he is qualified for office because he's been appointed to other Licking County boards, he was an eight-year member of the Northridge school board and has run his own companies in a fiscally sound manner for the past 11 years.

He is running for trustee to have a say in his chosen area of residence.

"I want to try to make sure our style of life is not changed without major input from the residents of the area," he said.

Almendinger believes managed growth and a monitoring of urban sprawl is St. Albans Township's most pressing need.

He said the township needs some economic development for revenue to maintain available amenities.

"Most of the people I have conversed with are leery of the growth onslaught from New Albany and Columbus areas," Almendinger said. "They want to see a very slow growth process. That is why most of the folks I have talked with moved here."

Kean, 50, lives on Raccoon Valley Road in Alexandria, and he graduated from Northridge High School and the Licking County Joint Vocational School in Newark.

He has 25 years' experience as a volunteer firefighter on the St. Albans Fire Department, nine years as a paid part-time firefighter and EMT at St. Albans, where he is a captain, and he is a supervisor and service technician for a contractor. He said his communication skills and his daily work with multiple people and budgets qualify him for office.

Kean said he is running to bring fresh ideas and help St. Albans Township thrive in the future.

He said the township's most pressing need is money because expenses are rising and revenues are declining. He said the township should attract more industry and development to bring jobs and additional revenue to all entities of St. Albans Township.

"I believe the new four-lane highway (state Route 161) is the footprint to industry and development of the township," he said.

Morrison, 66, lives on Mounts Road in Alexandria and graduated from Point Pleasant High School in Point Pleasant, W.Va. He said he has had managerial and mathematics courses related to his career.

He has lived in St. Albans Township since 1974. Now retired, Morrison worked more than 19 years for the Superior Die, Tool and Machine Co. as an assistant manager and engineer. He said many of the skills he learned through his career, such as supervision of up to 80 people, bidding multi-million dollar contracts, balancing the budget and working with clients, qualify him for office. He serves on the St. Albans Township Planning Commission.

Morrison said he is running because he's retired and can devote the time necessary to the position.

He said he's always tried to be aware of current events in the township. He said people asked him to run for trustee many years ago, but between career and family, he didn't have the time.

Morrison, who said he has attended trustee meetings for the last year, said the township's most pressing need is communication between the trustees and the residents. Since many residents don't have computers, he believes the township should distribute an occasional newsletter to keep everyone informed.

"There are important things going on that people should know," he said.

Morrison said there's nothing wrong with attracting industry to the township, as long as it's the right type. He's not in favor of major industrial development but smaller companies that would help defray some costs for the residents would be welcome.

Beem, 48, lives on Watkins Road SW. She was raised in St. Albans Township and has lived there for most of her adult life. She is a 1981 graduate of Northridge High School and a 1983 graduate of the Ohio State School of Cosmetology. She also studied computer programming at Central Ohio Technical College.

Beem has owned European Touch salon for more than 26 years.

She was appointed to the position of St. Albans Township trustee in 2010 after the death of her mother, Carol Beem.

She said she is running for office because she would like to continue her mother's work in representing the township residents.

"She believed very strongly in serving as an advocate for her constituents. I hope to do the same, by being the voice of the people and helping to improve the lives of the residents, both now and for generations to come," Beem said.

"I have gained valuable experience while serving as a township trustee for approximately two years and I have also been certified by the Auditor of the State of Ohio in public records training," she said. "In addition, I have run a successful business for over 26 years, so I know a lot about responsible spending and the proper use of resources."

Beem said she believes she is the best candidate because she is the only one with experience serving as a township trustee.

"I have already established a very effective working relationship with the other trustees, which is crucial because our township certainly doesn't need the same kind of political gridlock that is taking place in Washington," she said. "When politicians fight amongst themselves, the end result is wasted time and taxpayer dollars. They never make any actual progress or provide any real solutions."

Beem said her highest priority would be to "continue monitoring both the growth of our township and the spending of the residents' tax dollars. I would like to help the township prosper so that the residents can improve their quality of life, while at the same time, preserve the wholesome rural atmosphere that we all know and love."

Other important issues, she said, are to maintain the safety of township roads and to get a new township maintenance building constructed "without requiring additional tax dollars from residents."

Reeves, 37, lives on Johnstown-Alexandria Road in Alexandria and earned an associate's degree in business management. She's worked for more than 15 years as a bank teller for PNC Bank.

She grew up in Johnstown and has lived in St. Albans Township for more than 14 years.

Reeves said she's qualified for office because she's held the fiscal officer's position for three terms and knows what is expected.

She's running for another term because she's concerned with what happens in the township.

She said the township's most pressing need is managing its budget, as government funding is being cut constantly. She said more businesses and industry would provide the township a better tax base and increased revenue.

"Residential development doesn't do that," Reeves said.