In recent weeks, Reynoldsburg resident Marsh Spalding has been a regular at city council meetings.

In recent weeks, Reynoldsburg resident Marsh Spalding has been a regular at city council meetings.

His mission is to represent the senior center, get involved with city council and make sure the center is not shut down.

He also wants to share ideas with city officials on what the center can do to help Reynoldsburg overall.

"I'm getting involved to see the senior center is protected, that they have a voice … someone that understands their interests," Spalding said. "…Somebody who can share ideas and help figure out what we need to do to help the city balance the budget, or pass a levy … keep things going to help them overall."

In recent months, Mayor Brad McCloud has indicated cuts considered in 2012 to make up for a $1.1-million revenue shortfall included police officers, parks and recreation programs and the senior center.

After meeting with city auditor Richard Harris and finance committee chairman Chris Long, McCloud said last week he is confident those cuts won't happen in 2012, but 2013 may be a different story.

He said what most likely will happen is the city will transfer money to the operations side of its ledger so it won't have to impose "draconian cuts" in 2012.

McCloud said that would help the city operate normally for the year, giving officials time to come up with a long-term plan as to how they're going to meet obligations in 2013.

Spalding, 67, was born and raised in Waco, Texas. He has been a resident of Reynoldsburg for 25 years where he lives with his wife, Lauren.

He retired in 2011 after a 35-year career with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc., soon after becoming a member of the senior center.

Spalding is confident his experience at Siemens, including 25 years in management, will help him in his current mission with the city.

"I made a big difference in the lives of the people who worked for me and I have that understanding on how to make it work for other people, while not worrying about myself," Spalding said.

He was actively involved during the campaign for Issue 52, the city's proposal to raise the income tax by 1 percent, which voters rejected in November.

By his count, he made more than 1,000 phone calls, visited well over 1,000 households delivering literature and worked the polls. Spalding said he did it by choice and now he wants to be more involved.

"I want to help be a voice for the center and times that I am not able to be there at council meetings, maybe I can make sure someone else can be there," he said.

In September, when word got out that the senior center was being considered a part of the city's cuts in 2012, a few dozen members attended two council meetings to voice their objections.

Spalding said having a few members show up at a couple of meetings is not enough.

"You can't hit and miss," he said. "If we want to be involved, we have to be willing to volunteer our time. We have to be willing to understand what is the city's point of view, how do we help them balance the budget?

"Let's talk about it instead of being reactive like, 'oh, don't close the center,' I understand we don't want to close the center, I got it - but we better come up with some other ideas."

Spalding indicated that one day, he might consider running for a seat on council.

"Going forward, I'll be at every committee or council meeting … and maybe one of these days, like in 2013 when there's an opening and I want to earn the right, (I'll) run," he said.

Senior center supervisor Jenny Walsh thinks what Spalding is doing is wonderful. She said it's imperative to keep the matter in the forefront with the city.

"I think we do need a presence there so they can see we're interested and he can tell us what's happening," Walsh said. "His heart is in the right place."

"Cities all over are facing similar things, and there's a lot of hard issues … we just need to get more money coming into this city," she said. "There's a lot of hard decisions to be made, and again, it's a wonderful city, you've got to fight for it."