Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Voters to Choose Four of Six Candidates for Chardon Council
November 1, 2013 by Ann Wishart | No Comments

Six candidates are vying for four positions on Chardon City Council in the election next Tuesday.Andrew BlackleyAndrew Blackley was appointed to serve on council from…

Six candidates are vying for four positions on Chardon City Council in the election next Tuesday.

Andrew Blackley

Andrew Blackley was appointed to serve on council from 2004 through 2007.

He has also served on the city planning commission, charter review committee and as municipal engineer from 1993 to 1999.

He is currently municipal engineer for South Euclid. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Cleveland State University and has worked as engineer for Middlefield Village and Highland Heights.

Blackley said his experience managing expensive, complex projects provides him with a unique perspective to serve as councilman.

Blackley has been involved in changing the scope of the North Street sanitary sewer project, is on the design team of Chardon Tomorrow and he organized and participated in a design charrette in 2012 to help guide improvements on Chardon Square.

The charrette led to creation of a business incubator and broadband WiFi on the square.

The city’s general fund balance continues to decline, making infrastructure and road improvement projects challenging.

“Capital spending must be carefully controlled and additional revenue sources must be sought,” Blackley said. “Developers should bear the majority of the cost of the improvements needed for their projects and not expect the city to pay for land and road improvements.”

He also supports formation of joint economic development agreements with neighboring communities to share the costs of water and sewer infrastructure and recreation programs and facilities.

“Voters must be kept informed of the decisions of council and be given ample opportunity to express their opinions,” he said.

John Mallen

Mallen has lived in the city for 16 years and was elected to council in 2009. He is a substitute teacher at various schools, a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, member of the New Covenant Fellowship Church and a small business owner.

Since he was elected, Mallen said he has enjoyed representing city residents and would like to work with council to making Chardon a better place to live.

“It is especially important to have a stable, balanced financial plan that is compatible with these objectives using currently available funds,” he said, adding this includes the implementation of the city’s capital improvement plan through 2018.

Streets, sewers, sidewalks and the Heritage House project are all goals council has planned, he said.

“I am retired and therefore have the time to delve into issues in depth in order to make the best possible decisions,” Mallen said, adding his orientation in decision making is slated toward meeting the needs of the public.

“The most threatening and dangerous situation confronting all of us is the explosive epidemic use of heroin,” he said. “This is front and center for me to take every opportunity to learn, inform, discuss and help wherever I can.”

Mallen is also concerned about the state pulling funding from local schools and how it affects the quality of education.

Nancy McArthur

Elected to council in 2009 after five years on the city planning commission, McArthur has lived in Chardon for 17 years.

She is the small business relationship manager for KeyBank in Chardon and received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Cleveland State University.

She put her knowledge from 20-plus years of marketing, sales, human resources, legal and financial services to work for the city by chairing its legislative, finance and audit committees.

“I initiated a state performance audit to improve city operations, which identified over $460,000 in savings (7.8 percent of the budget). We are currently implementing most of these recommendations,” McArthur said.

Changes made in the planning and zoning code over the last four years makes it easier and less expensive to do business in Chardon, she said.

McArthur initiated changes in tax collecting including hiring a full-time tax collector, a change that yields $2 for each $1 spent, she said, adding she spearheaded the revitalization district to support current and future businesses.

She is also active in Chardon Tomorrow, Chardon Square Association, Geauga Lyric Theater Guild, Chardon Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scout Troop 93 and the Red Key Network.

“I believe in fostering partnerships with local community-invested organizations that give back and strengthen Chardon,” McArthur said.

Jim Pruce

Pruce, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was appointed to fill the term of Leslie Bednar six months ago by a unanimous council vote.

A self-employed businessman for more than 30 years, Pruce said he has learned to listen to people.

“You must be flexible and willing to adjust to survive and change in a small business,” he said, adding he can bring those qualities to best represent Chardon residents.

Pruce served on the planning and zoning commission for two years and worked with the Charter Review Committee to simplify procedures in the city.

“I am a no-nonsense person with a goal of making Chardon a better place to live for its residents and the business community,” he said. “I support our schools and their efforts to pass the upcoming Issue 31.”

During his tenure, Pruce served as chairman of the parks and recreation committee and on the service committee.

“I have experience as a council person and would like to continue to bring a common-sense approach to the challenges that face our city,” he said.

Jeffrey Smock

Smock, a familiar face at Chardon City Hall, was the finance director there for 26 years and clerk of council for 22 years.

“I have the necessary experience and understanding of the city’s finances to be able to work with all of council and staff to do what is best for the residents and community as a whole,” he said.

His accomplishments while finance director included initiating and preparing Chardon’s five-year capital improvement program, submitting balanced budgets, earning the Ohio Auditor of State Award for exemplary financial reporting as well as initiating and writing Chardon’s financial management and debt policy.

He was instrumental in securing a three-level upgrade in the city’s long-term debt rating of AA-.

“I believe the most critical issue facing council is being able to find the necessary funds to maintain the aging infrastructure in the city,” Smock said.

Streets, waterline and sewers need to be replaced, he said.

“This can be achieved through sound financial planning and adhering to Chardon’s financial management and debt policy,” he said.

He wants to attract businesses to the city while retaining its “small-town charm.”

“The goal is to get the businesses to locate in Chardon and begin generating revenue and creating jobs,” he said. “As business considers locating in Chardon, the city should eliminate, as much as possible, any unnecessary city fees and costly regulations.

“The city will benefit in the long run as city income tax revenue is generated each year on net profits and employee wages.”

Thomas Ray

Owner of a construction company for 25 years and a Chardon resident for 30 years, Ray said he has the experience to handle contracts and budgets as a member of council.

“I deal with the public on a daily basis. I feel the city needs a boost in business and our streets need attention,” he said, adding the entire city needs council’s attention.

“Public taxes should be used for what they are intended for,” Ray said. “There is more to Chardon other than the city square.”

As the owner and operator of Morgan’s Place, a restaurant on Chardon Square, he wants the city to thrive and be a destination city.

“Maintenance should be looked at more. City contracts for roads, buildings and maintenance need to be addressed,” he said. “Schools are important. I have two children that will be attending and they deserve the best as well as everyone else.”

Critical issues include building business throughout the city, helping to rebuild roads using qualified contractors, avoiding cost overruns, supporting Chardon Schools and helping to resolve the drug problems the area children are facing.

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