New Albany voters will see three uncontested city races on their November ballots. Early voting for the Nov. 8 election began Oct. 4.

New Albany voters will see three uncontested city races on their November ballots. Early voting for the Nov. 8 election began Oct. 4.

Mayor Nancy Ferguson is unopposed in her bid for re-election, and incumbents Stephen Pleasnick and Chris Wolfe face no opposition for their city council seats.

Ferguson, 60, has lived in New Albany for 15 years and has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State, a master’s degree from Xavier University and a law degree from Capital University. She has worked in the legal system in many different capacities and served on city council for six years before first being elected mayor eight years ago.

Ferguson said she is running for re-election to continue to make the city better.

“I would like to be a part of New Albany’s development over the next four years,” she said.

Pleasnick, 71, is a 20-year New Albany resident who has served on council for 15 years. He said he is running again to continue to use his experience as a council member.

Pleasnick is president of Georgetown Midwest and Pacific Consulting and is a retired superintendent of the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Wolfe, 42, is a 15-year resident of New Albany. He has a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and completed postgraduate work at the University of Colorado.

Wolfe is president and founder of ChaseTek Partners, a technology-management company, and said he is seeking “re-election to continue to drive for fiscal accountability, economic development and to bring the perspective of the school-aged family to the city building process.”

ThisWeek asked the three candidates their opinions on the city’s most pressing need and how the city could continue to provide services if the national economic malaise persists.

“Managing growth remains New Albany’s biggest challenge,” Ferguson said. “In terms of residential growth, New Albany should limit new housing to that which has already been planned and zoned, minimizing impact on our school district and our property taxes.

“New Albany should continue working to expand retail growth in our village center and office development in our business campuses.”

Ferguson said the city fared well during the recent economic downturn and the short-term outlook is that it should be able to maintain current services if the downturn continues.

“Happily, New Albany entered the downturn with a significant ‘rainy day fund’ (carryover balance) representing over 50 percent of our annual budget,” she said. “By postponing a planned expansion of our staff, freezing salaries for a year, reducing spending and delaying several projects that were in the planning stages, the city was able to avoid staff layoffs. Services to residents were reduced only minimally.”

She also said the city does not receive significant funding from the Ohio Local Government Fund, so state funding cuts “will only have a minimal effect on our budget.”

She said the city’s success in attracting new businesses will also provide “funding for the excellent city services our residents and businesses desire. Unlike many communities in our region, New Albany should be able to do this without increasing our residents’ income taxes or property taxes.”

Pleasnick said continued economic growth is the city’s most pressing need.

“We need to be able to continue to deliver quality services without any further increase in taxes on our residents,” he said. “We’ve successfully proven we can do that by attracting new companies. No other community has been able to do that in this economy.”

Pleasnick said the city could respond to the economic downturn by continuing to increase its capacity to attract those businesses to New Albany and provide support for its residents.

Wolfe said New Albany’s most pressing need is continued economic development.

He said attracting new businesses and being fiscally responsible are the best ways to deal with the economic downturn.

“Fortunately, we continue to attract healthy and progressive businesses to our community due to the strong appeal of our community master plan and the hard work of our very talented staff,” Wolfe said. “So, unlike many other communities, we continue to add revenue to our tax base.

“In addition, due to our strong focus on fiscal responsibility, we have not only been able to maintain services, but have been able to continue to provide more services and community features despite the challenges presented by the economic downturn.”

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