A three-way race for two seats on Groveport City Council awaits voters in the Nov. 5 general election.
Jack Rupp Jr., an assistant chief with the Plain Township Fire Department, is challenging incumbents Shawn Cleary and Jean Ann Hilbert.
Cleary, council's current president, has been employed by American Electric Power for 40 years. Hilbert is a retired public school teacher.
Each candidate was asked to answer three questions posed by ThisWeek Canal Winchester Times.
What is the greatest challenge/need facing the city and, if elected, how would you address it?
Cleary: Development. We need structure in downtown along with keeping the small-town feeling. Must also be aware of spending. We have to live within our cost and income. Must take care of our inner structures.
Hilbert: First, we have a great city, a wonderful senior transportation system, a marvelous recreation/aquatic center, beautiful municipal golf course, numerous parks and wonderful employees. Through the community affairs and recreation department, we offer programs for preschoolers through senior citizens. We have implemented a transportation system (GREAT) that gets warehouse employees from drop-off point to workplace. We repair sidewalks for our residents at no personal cost to them. We do all these things for our residents through the efforts of our staff and employees. The greatest challenge that I see is replacing these quality individuals when they retire or move from Groveport.
Rupp: Ensure Groveport's financial stability and services, diversify income-tax source and support planned growth. Promote shared services agreements with other municipalities to maintain quality services at a lower operating cost. Encourage (age) 55 and older developments. Seniors are being forced from the community for the lack of affordable single- and multi-tenant units. Best addressed by working within the city administration, working cooperatively with other municipalities, developers and small and large businesses.
If elected, which city services/departments would you like to see expanded or changed and why?
Cleary: Our services and departments are very strong. We do much more than many cities. We must never look back and continue to improve more and more each day. I would like to expand our cost in improving the inner structure of our city.
Hilbert: The wisest thing to do in office is to see what is working and what is not. At this moment, all our departments are very effective and that is due to the quality of our employees. For instance, we have the best public works around. Just ask anyone about our snow removal!
Rupp: I think it would be premature for me to attempt to answer that. I do not have enough knowledge of the individual departments to make that assessment.
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in your community?
Cleary: By being visible, attending all events and talking with residents to get involved.
Hilbert: We have something facing us in 2020, and that is our Charter Review Committee. These residents will have the awesome task of going through our charter to see if there is anything that needs addressing. Other areas in which residents can serve: We have the Cemetery Committee, which oversees Groveport Cemetery and Hendren Cemetery. We have a Tree & Decorations Committee, which addresses all the trees and streets in our city as well as provides the banners and flags for the light poles. The CIC Board (Community Improvement Corp.) works with the development director in attracting interest in our community. The Planning and Zoning Commission reviews all requests for area development. The Board of Zoning Appeals hears requests from our residents. Each committee/board is an opportunity for citizens to serve and present their decisions back to the (city) council.
Rupp: I would encourage council to direct the city administration to work toward improving public feedback through the use of social media platforms. People's lives are active with work, family and other doings; they don't have or take the time to provide feedback.
While they do use social media, social media has become the No. 1 way to communicate on a larger scale, making it a good venue for feedback.