Reynoldsburg voters will decide Nov. 8 whether Pat Mahaffey should be re-elected to a fourth term as Truro Township trustee or if they want fire Lt. Mike Shirey to take the seat.

Reynoldsburg voters will decide Nov. 8 whether Pat Mahaffey should be re-elected to a fourth term as Truro Township trustee or if they want fire Lt. Mike Shirey to take the seat.

Mahaffey, 62, has lived in Reynoldsburg 37 years. He said he is qualified for another term not only because he has served as trustee for the past 12 years, but has been chairman of the board for 10 of those years.

“I think that speaks to my fellow trustees by appointing me as the head of the board. I’ve been in Reynoldsburg 37 years and own my own business and always have,” Mahaffey said.

“Since I’ve been trustee, I’ve graduated from the Ohio Township Association Leadership Academy and the state of Ohio’s fiscal training, have helped oversee a new fire station built and we’ve combined our services with seven other jurisdictions, and all with no new taxes,” he said.

In addition, Mahaffey said during his past three terms, the township has hired 12 new full-time firefighters and purchased 14 service vehicles.

He said his reasons for seeking a fourth term are the same as those he considered when seeking his first term: support from firefighters.

“Firefighters I knew came to me said I’d be good for the job. I looked into it, thought I could do a good job, and I still think I can,” he said.

Mahaffey said the most pressing need in the township at this time revolves around the fact that Fire Chief Jerry Foltz and administrator Bob Stapleton are both retiring at the end of the year.

In addition, he said, the township needs to fill positions as battalion chief, lieutenant and firefighter.

“We’re about ready to go through a top-level management change É so there’s going to be a big shift and I think that’s a challenge for us,” Mahaffey said.

Also, he pointed out, property values recently fell 13 percent in the area

“That’s where our money comes from, property values, so we’re going to see a drop in our money we get. I’ve heard as much as 16 percent,” Mahaffey said.

“And when that comes, I think I’m the person to be able to deal with that reduced budget and I think I know how to spend the money wisely. I’ve been doing it for 12 years,” he said.

Shirey, 52, has lived in Reynoldsburg all of his life. He began his firefighting career volunteering with the department in 1979, then was hired full-time in 1980. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1998. He is in charge of fire investigations, prevention and education.

He said his qualifications for becoming a trustee include his experience in the fire department and having been raised by his father, Frank Shirey, who served on the fire department from 1957 until he retired as assistant chief in 1995.

Shirey said since the department’s budget is between 80 and 90 percent of the township’s budget, his years with the fire department have helped him become familiar with what is needed to run the township and decide what or what not to purchase.

He said if elected, he wants to be frugal with the township’s money while continuing the service it has provided for so many years.

“For my entire life, Truro Township has been in my blood and my life É I know the ins and outs of the fire department real well,” Shirey said.

“We are heading for hard economical times and we know that É and we need to pull the reins in and just hold tight on buying and see where our funds are going to be, because we won’t know until they release next year’s budget,” he said.

Since he is closing in on 32 years serving in the fire department and approaching retirement, Shirey said he is running to be a township trustee because he wants to continue to serve.

“Most people put in 25 years and then they go, and I’ve got 32. I’m really worried about the budget cuts, like when you hear in the city there’s a possibility they might lose the senior center É I don’t want to see something like that happen in the township,” Shirey said.

Another pressing concern, he said, is maintaining the services the fire department provides and keeping watch over its expenditures.

“I want to make more sound fiscal decisions, and again, I’m really worried about what are they going to cut when we hear we’ve got to make some cuts? I don’t want to go in with somebody that’s really not too knowledgeable on what we can cut, and I think I can make a better decision on that,” he said.

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