2008-2019 U.S. Department of State
Foreign Service Officer
2004-2008 U.S. Army Civilian
2002-2004 Other U.S. Federal Service
University of Notre Dame: Bachelor of Science Electrical Engineering
I believe the City of Middletown needs fresh leadership which listens to its concerned citizens and makes the difficult decisions for both the city's short and long term prosperity. We need a mayor who can broker mutually beneficial relations with other communities while ultimately being willing to take a hard stance and defend the interests of Middletown. Our neighboring cities have flourished over the last couple decades, while Middletown remains nearly unchanged, making the top 15 U.S. cities in 2018 that never recovered from the Great Recession. It is the efforts of its individual citizens that have effected the positive changes we see in Middletown. I bring 15 years of federal experience on complex, international issues. As a concerned citizen of Middletown, I also bring new ideas, fresh energy, and genuine faith in what this community can accomplish.
Education: Middletown schools continue to fall short on all test scores and surveys. Much of our student base lacks self pride and drive, which starts outside school walls. Middletown needs compassionate and motivational leaders who drive higher education levels. We can devise mentorship programs with local businesses & summer programs for our youth.
Economic Development: Middletown fails to draw business. We need to provide sufficient incentives to new business while assisting our existing businesses to succeed/grow through things like collaborative marketing. These outside tax dollars can help pay for things like improved roads and infrastructure.
Homeless: We must stop allowing our neighbors to ignore their own homeless problems by passing them to us. I support a state-mandated effort for cities to address the homeless problem, revoking transportation funding for cities in violation. We could alternatively charge cities large fees for each homeless individual brought to our city.
Education: Pride, motivation, and compassion do not cost a dime. We can empower local businesses to be involved with Middletown's youth by structuring a mentorship program. I believe we have many venues in Middletown who would be willing to host our youth at times in the summer for free if the city devised programs.
Economic Development: Business incentives are one of the top search criteria when entrepreneurs and startups are looking for a new place to call home. Located between two major business hubs, Middletown can offer competitive incentives without the long commute and high cost of living. Some incentives might be financial in nature, while others are bureaucratic – assisting with permits and helping to cut through red tape. The city should offer a group of financing options for small businesses. Qualifying companies would have access to low-percentage loans, technical assistance grants, revenue bonds, business consulting and marketing initiatives.
I am supportive of allowing the citizens of Middletown to vote on a bond levy to pave more streets in the city. The third party studies conducted on Middletown roads provide an accurate picture of which should be prioritized. Our most traveled roads need to take priority for the sake of both our citizens and visitors, though we cannot ignore the side streets that are creating daily wear and tear on our citizens' vehicles.
Middletown needs to generate more economic development to bring in money that can then directly address important issues like our assessed need for new fire stations.
Middletown needs more police officers on the street. Closing its jail would only increase this problem, as it would take officers and rolling stock (vehicles) out of rotation for long periods of time. With increases in homeless on the streets and our continued drug epidemic, we must give our police department the resources it needs to keep our city clean. Again, an increase in economic development will allow us to pay for things like additional law enforcement resources.
Middletown needs to continue applying for grants associated with demolition of old buildings and clearing of property. We must focus on getting rid of the unproductive eye sores that take up space and create visual negative distractions to make room for new economic development.
Middletown and Butler County have some beautiful existing park systems and bike trails that I use on a daily basis. I believe Middletown could work to develop the riverfront like the city of Dayton and draw businesses/entertainment to this unique area. It all comes down to better economic development and convincing businesses that Middletown’s future is bright and worth investment.
Middletown's location is perfect for research and development (R&D) and recreational skydiving/private aviation, all of which can co-exist at the same airport. Middletown could be an aerospace epicenter for R&D, with its proximity to Wright Patt and defense contractors, while also allowing an appropriate level of jet traffic. With proper safety coordination, all of the above mentioned aviation activities can co-exist. We have functioning, successful businesses at Middletown Regional Airport right now. They bring millions of dollars of outside taxpayer money into Middletown's restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and other businesses. Pushing recreational skydiving away with the pipe dream of bringing in a large volume of corporate jet traffic is economic suicide. Middletown's location is not a draw for multiple, massive corporations, which is what it would take to support a commercial jet facility. We should keep existing recreational/skydiving/private aviation and promote R&D.
Middletown should continue work on its infrastructure to draw visitors to its downtown businesses and promote growth of existing business. It should promote revolving loan funds, modified development codes, and business incubators/co-working spaces.
The city should should use these funds for its law enforcement needs.
I believe the city’s proposal to create a new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for the Ryan homes expansion of the east side of Sawyer’s Mill development is a short-term political win with mid- to long-term losses to the city. Middletown already has $6.19 million of delinquent property taxes due from 1,276 parcels. The proposed TIF district only adds to this number. We should not be bending over backwards to give a developer free infrastructure development for homes that do not lie in the Middletown School District. Not only should Ryan homes pay for infrastructure improvements needed to sell its product, but the city should focus on enforcing its own laws and going after its overdue property taxes.
Tax increment financing (TIF) is the bad idea that keeps coming back and refuses to die, despite its documented failures. It takes the tax dollars generated by the development and diverts them back to the developer.TIF has had numerous negative economic impacts on Middletown. TIF increases government involvement in the economy, sparked abuse of eminent domain, and makes subsidies a permanent fixture of development. TIFs are not a road to growth; they are a road to ruin.It is a fact that economic growth in cities that do not use TIF is stronger than in cities that do because TIF subsidies cause an inefficient allocation of resources. Government officials in Middletown offer TIF so they can claim political credit for the “new” businesses while playing kick-the-can with the adverse consequences for the other taxing districts, like the schools.
2006: Appointed to City Council
Served on various boards of trustees: SELF, Butler County’s community action agency; Great Miami Valley YMCA; LifeSpan; Community First Solutions; Butler County United Way; Middletown Community Foundation
1990-2017 First Financial Bank: Market President, First Vice President, other roles
2018-present: LCNB National Bank: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio: BS in Finance, minor in mathematics;
ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
I am running for re-election to support my hometown. Middletown has made great progress over the last 12 years I’ve served as Mayor, and we have continued success ahead. My 30 year career in finance, banking and executive management has allowed me to develop critical thinking, decision making skills and form collaborations to help advance our city’s progress. In the last six years, the city has grown revenues to record levels, and we’ve prudently managed our expenses.
1) Workforce development: continue partnerships with businesses and educational partners to develop skills for 21st century jobs.
2) Street Paving: There has not been a dedicated funding source since it was repealed in the 80’s; since then we’ve seen our streets deteriorate. We have made progress recently, through disciplined budgeting and prudent fiscal management. The increased gas tax will provide some additional funding to help advance repaving efforts.
3) Implementing our housing study and address deteriorating neighborhoods: The same areas that were identified as problematic in the 1950’s still exist today. We have just completed a comprehensive study and plan that will guide Middletown in the coming years.
1) Partnerships with the private sector to raise awareness of job opportunities and educational advancements. New programs like the State’s Work+ program with Miami University and area employers illustrate new opportunities available. Continue the collaboration with the chamber and our business community to communicate the need for future ready graduates to the schools. Little direct funding is needed from the city.
2) By implementing a plan to increase the city’s employment and working aged residents through economic development and the implementation of our housing plan, we will be able to reach a goal of paving our streets over the next 30 years and reach a sustainable funding source.
3) Through partnerships and investment between the city and the private sector. We have one example already in place, with the city’s CIC, Middletown Moving Forward, providing gap financing for the Goetz tower redevelopment. That involved our local community foundation, Duke Energy, and banks.
I believe that the citizens should decide if streets are a priority. Last year, I proposed city council consider a limited term, income tax levy to do just that. To accelerate our efforts, and address many neighborhood streets, I believe a levy is needed and should be carefully considered. We have a 160 million dollar expense to address our streets, and it will take a concerted effort to fund the fixes. With prudent budgeting, continued growth, it can be addressed over the next 25 years. With a levy, it could be accelerated and solved much faster; that’s up to the voters to determine.
Again, with the lack of a dedicated funding source for capital improvements (and maintenance), we are faced with aging fire stations and other critical facilities. Long term financing will be required to replace our fire stations. Part of that funding could be provided once other city debt is paid off, and possibly, a building levy could be considered. We are in the early stages of developing a plan and I look forward to seeing that through. The price tag for new buildings is significant, and it will take creative approaches to addressing those needs.
The city could benefit from additional public safety positions. Council is considering new traffic enforcement positions to free up officers to address more critical crime and safety issues. The police department has made great strides in regional cooperation, especially in the fight on drugs.
As part of the housing study, we’ve identified buffer zones around our current industrial sites, along with some brownfield sites that need remediation. In many cases, there are outdated, dilapidated housing units adjacent to heavy industrial uses. I believe we can begin to strategically address through the acquisition of vacant property, foreclosing on past due taxes, city liens and water bills to remove unsafe housing, and clean up of brownfields to then develop into transitional areas for commercial development. We have additional land by the interstate that will need to be prudently developed for the highest and best use, as we have seen with AK research & innovation center, Atrium’s campus, and the new Kettering health site that was built on the site of a dilapidated hotel.
We have wonderful and plentiful parks in the City. We’re fortunate to have active youth sports programs (and even pickleball for the young at heart) and teams that utilize our parks. I believe that we can incrementally grow our programs though partnerships with area schools, organizations like the YMCA, and others to provide comprehensive activities for all.
I believe we can achieve all three, however we need to balance the needs of each. Butler Tech is conducting a ribbon cutting this month for their educational space, we have active skydiving programs, and I expect we can grow and develop opportunities in avionics and additional jobs in the aeronautics fields with expanded land for development at the airport. In the past it has been an underutilized asset, now that we have an updated plan, working with the FAA and other partners, we can expand the economic contributions it brings to the city.
The heart of any city is its downtown. Middletown’s downtown, and its heart, is beating strongly after many years of decline. In my time as Mayor, the resurgence downtown has been incredible. It is thanks to the many dedicated owners and investors that have brought it back. The city plays a catalytic role in supporting it though Downtown Middletown Incorporated (DMI), working on key infrastructure issues like the repaving of Central Avenue in 2021, and in-kind support through public works and public safety for the many events held downtown. These efforts and partnerships should continue.
Any funding from an opioid settlement should be returned to the general fund of the city. The city bore the cost of police and EMS responses, creative solutions to address addiction and solutions to the crisis. Any settlement funds would likely return a fraction of what was spent. I believe that settlement funds will help address needs that we were forced to postpone due to the tremendous cost required to respond to this crisis.
I actively participated in the committee’s work and appreciate the dedication and input from many experts and residents. It lays out the foundation and the city will be starting in the Oakland neighborhood in 2020, closely followed by the Crawford St area. We can build upon the plan’s foundational elements and adjust as needed as we move forward. It sets the city in the right direction: Increase home ownership, address and remove blight, revitalize neighborhoods.
Tax incentives can play a critical role in some areas. Whether it is a TIF, historic tax credits, or other form of incentive, it can provide a catalyst to spur development or redevelopment. Should they be used in all cases, no, but they should be considered when necessary to accelerate our plan to improve the city.