This year's primary election will feature something a little unusual for Reynoldsburg: More Democrats than Republicans are on the May 2 ballot, seeking to be their party's nominees to run for City Council in November.
Four Republicans and five Democrats are on the ballot in their respective party primaries. According to the Franklin County Board of Elections, the three top vote-getters in each will advance to November's general election, in which voters will decide who will fill three at-large seats on council.
Terms for incumbent Republicans Barth Cotner, Chris Long and Dan Skinner expire at the end of the year. Cotner and Long are seeking re-election but Skinner decided not to run for a second term.
Joining the two incumbents on the Republican primary ballot are newcomers Aaron DeLong and Charlie Myers.
The five Democrats in that party's primary are former council member Cornelius McGrady III and newcomers Stacie Baker, Kristin Bryant, Kelly Cruse and John Stearns.
The Republican candidates provided the following information in response to question from ThisWeek.
Responses from the Democrat candidates will be printed in the April 20 edition of ThisWeek Reynoldsburg News.
Cotner, 44, a funeral director at Cotner Funeral Home, is seeking his third term. He and his wife, Julie, have two children who attend Reynoldsburg schools.
Cotner attended Ohio University for two years, then transferred to the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science to earn his bachelor's degree.
He has served as chairman of council's community development committee and for the last four years as chairman of the finance committee.
Long, 58, is director of Client Satisfaction North America at JAAS Systems. He is seeking a third term on Reynoldsburg City Council. He and his wife, Sandy, have six children.
A graduate of Reynoldsburg High School and Eastland Joint Vocational Center, Long attended the University of Chicago (Air Force Extension Program) in general business studies, to become a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional.
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Long has served as chairman of council's safety committee and vice chairman of the finance committee and as Council President Pro Tempore.
DeLong, 38, is lead pastor of Simple Church in Reynoldsburg. He and his wife, Shanda, have three children and have lived in Reynoldsburg for 11 years.
His pastoral education was through the Ohio School of Ministry in Columbus.
DeLong has been a notary public for the last 13 years and for the last two years has served as a board member of the HEART Food Pantry in Reynoldsburg.
Myers, 34, is state director for Ohio YMCA Youth & Government. He and his wife, Amanda, have three children, with a new baby due in June. They have lived in Reynoldsburg for more than two years.
Myers is a graduate of Fairmont State University in Fairmont, West Virginia.He has served on several committees for the YMCA through 10 years as a full-time employee.
The candidates responded to the following questions asked by ThisWeek:
What are the top three issues facing the city?
Cotner: Our community has been operating (with) a very tight budget, which is something of which we can be proud. However, to strengthen our community we need more income. If the levy passes, it could help our city address challenges and we could finally have a community recreation center. This would also allow our city to invest in development. With additional resources, we can improve the infrastructure of our community.
Long: Public safety, infrastructure and economic development. There is no greater responsibility than providing for the safety of citizens. If Issue 11 (income tax hike) passes, we need to increase staffing levels and provide additional equipment. We've done well using additional funding sources for main roads, but there are secondary streets that need repaired or replaced.
DeLong: The top three challenges facing our city are infrastructure, strengthening code enforcement to protect property values and strengthening our efforts to fight crime.
Myers: The top three issues are public safety, education and fiscal responsibility.
What can be done to shore up city finances if the income tax fails?
Cotner: We need to continue to work harder and smarter. We've operated on a limited budget for years and were able to manage the valuable resources our community has invested for their city. We have obtained many grants and have accomplished a great deal with limited resources. Our community would need to continue that planned aggressive approach to reach out for opportunities. We also need to work strongly with businesses to help them realize the opportunities they have by investing into our affordable community.
Long: Support of Issue 11 is a private matter for individuals and families. Discussion is needed on how it will affect them directly. My wife and I have discussed the issue and will be supporting it. Most of the city's operating revenue comes from payroll taxes, so we must do whatever we can do to help current businesses grow and add good-paying jobs.
DeLong: Regardless of whether Issue 11 fails or not, we will need to continue to focus on business growth and development, fiscal responsibility, discovering and applying for grants and pursuing potential opportunities with other surrounding cities.
Myers: It would be unfortunate if Issue 11 failed. Our city needs more officers and better roads and facilities that will draw young families to settle in Reynoldsburg. We need to court businesses and recreation for families as well as maintain what we currently have to increase our income tax. This won't be enough without the income tax increase, but it will help. We need Issue 11 to pass for a better and stronger Reynoldsburg.