Incumbent Mel Clemens will face challenger Pat Zollars in the May 5 primary election as Reynoldsburg Republicans decide who will receive the nod to seek election in November to represent Ward 4 on Reynoldsburg City Council.

Incumbent Mel Clemens will face challenger Pat Zollars in the May 5 primary election as Reynoldsburg Republicans decide who will receive the nod to seek election in November to represent Ward 4 on Reynoldsburg City Council.

Clemens, 83, attended the University of Cincinnati. He has served 16 years as Ward 4 representative, along with another nine years as an at-large council member. He also served 16 years on the Truro Township Board of Trustees, 11 years as the city's safety service director and two years as a councilman when Reynoldsburg was a village.

Clemens said he is seeking re-election to continue to support the ward on issues he believes are important, such as safety in neighborhoods, strict code compliance, zoning and street improvements.

"I want to continue to work to promote commercial growth in our district so we can create more and better jobs in the city and keep taxes low," he said. "My unique experience of 56 years living and raising a family in Ward 4 gives me a better understanding of the issues that face our neighborhood."

Zollars, 52, has a master of science degree in administration from Central Michigan University and a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Franklin University.

He has no previous political experience but said he is seeking election to council because he wants to strive to make improvements in the city.

"I want to serve my fellow citizens in a manner that will leave Reynoldsburg a better place, and in better shape, than when I started my term," Zollars said.

Both candidates cite finances as an important issue for the city.

"The city of Reynoldsburg has lost Local Government Funds and estate tax. Our bond rating has decreased. The administration and council must find a way to solve these issues," Clemens said.

In addition to fiscal responsibility, Zollars said he sees "protection of senior services and property values, code enforcement and a sense of community" as important issues.

In recent years, the city has attempted four times to convince residents to approve an income tax increase. Clemens said the city should try again for a tax increase "only if we can build trust in the voters to ensure we will spend the money that an increase brings to improve infrastructure, property values and lead to a better way of life in Reynoldsburg."

While acknowledging that "additional revenue and maintaining existing revenue is a concern," Zollars said any income tax increases "should be placed in front of voters to decide."

Neither candidate sees a tax-credit change as a workable alternative to an income tax increase.

"Clearly, a tax-credit change would be less of a cost for those that live and work in Reynoldsburg. I personally believe the tax-credit change is a dead issue with the makeup of the current council," Clemens said.

"I am against a tax credit change," Zollars said.