I was appointed to the Urbana City Planning Commission in 2003; appointed to fill a vacancy on city council in January of 2008; elected to the Urbana City Council in 2009; and sworn in as Mayor of Urbana in 2012. I served as a trustee of Urbana University for 20 years and served as the President of the Urbana University Alumni Assoc. I am a member and President of the Urbana Lion’s Club; I serve on the Executive Board of the Ohio Mayors Assoc;Chairman of the Champaign District Health Board.
I attended South Elementary Grade School in Urbana, Ohio, graduated from Urbana High and graduated from Urbana University with a bachelor’s degree of science, majoring in philosophy and religion.
Continuation of the existing Champaign Economic Partnership/CEP (Economic Development Agency). We must continue the redevelopment of our old infrastructure.Expand infrastructure capacity for growth such as the redevelopment of the Monument Square, rezoning of areas within Urbana and contiguous area for business growth, champion efforts for new housing development and/or renovations of existing housing; pursue options such as lofts and apartments within the downtown area, streamline govt process to assist with business needs.This we did with the realignment of Urbana's Zoning and Community Development Offices. I will not speak to the past administrations on what they did or didn't do.They did what they thought was right at the time. We have local and outside developers working on buildings and projects in the downtown area of Urbana at this time. They are working on various buildings such as the Douglas, Sowles Hotel, and various lofts are being built.
Continuation of the existing Champaign Economic Partnership/CEP (Economic Development Agency). We are marketing the attributes that exist in Urbana/Champaign County (4 yr university,Level 2 airport and full hospital), US Hwy 68 & 36, 15 miles to interstate access, within 300 miles of major key industries, regional population of approximately 650,000 and growth of manufacturing over approximately 1300 new jobs post-recession.Partnering with educational resources for updating of curriculum and training materials to meet today's (and future) skills in the workforce. Availability of various economic development incentives to assist with new investment and jobs to the community.Marketing of available sites for end users to site selectors. Continued collaboration with other government bodies and creating an economic development strategy for Urbana/Champaign Co Involve businesses in more of the curriculum development; Continued support of the existing CEP Business Liaison. JOBS,JOBS,JOBS!!
In 1991 an additional tax of four-tenths of one-percent (.4%) went to the then current one-percent (1%), which would bring the new income tax rate to one and four-tenths of one-percent (1.4%). For the past twenty-eight (28) years, the City has been able to stretch the current 1.4% income tax revenue to maintain the basic services, but in the past eight (8) years, rising operating costs and continual reductions in the State of Ohio’s ‘Local Government Funding’ (LGF) have gradually eroded the financial base for City operations. In order to offset the effects of inflation, loss of Estate Tax monies, and reductions in the Local Government Fund (LGF), operating costs have been reduced to a critical point. Coupled with the need for a new engine for the fire division and equipment upgrades for both the police and fire divisions, we can no longer kick-the-can down the road; we must reestablish the resources required to support the needs of the citizens.
We will always have challenges and we have faced every challenge and look to future challenges The City of Urbana was founded in 1805. So, consequently we have some old and fading infrastructure. It takes lots of money to bring our failing infrastructure up to date. Just for example, the redevelopment of the Monument Square was 5 years in the making. The same with the redevelopment of US RT 36. We started the South High Street project last year and it won't see construction until 2023. The time is consumed with finding the money and developing the project. Applying for certain grants, loans and or a increase in taxes which no one likes.has to be done. No one likes not having water, sewer service and dealing with potholes,This impacts the Fire and Police division. It also effects the Park's, Airport, Cemetery. Without good infrastructure our city will not grow and prosper. That by far is the biggest challenge.
I ran for Mayor because I thought that the city was going know where. It needed a person that had a vision to bring Urbana forward into the 21st century. I had some ideas that I thought would work in making Urbana one of the best small cities to live in. We have everything going for us except for our old tired infrastructure. We needed to breathe life into our infrastructure. So we embarked on making everything better and sustainable. We also needed to change attitudes about Urbana. Just look around the city and see all of the good things that are happening. Property owners are doing great things with their buildings.. As someone said at the National Day of Prayer, Speak the Truth, Know the Truth, Live the Truth. Let’s all do that and we will be a much better city for it. There is still plenty more to do. I want to be your Mayor for the next 4 years so we can accomplish what needs to be done in order to keep our city the best small city in Ohio. Let’s “KEEP URBANA MOVING”
see final question
Graduated from Urbana High School and attended Xavier University before pursuing his own business, TrueChat.
For too long the businesses in downtown Urbana have been overlooked by city leadership. The Urbana Wins team wants to appoint a Business Coordinator for the city. This person would serve as a single point of contact for businesses that need help with permits, licensing, taxes, and more. When you need to take on a project that involves the city in some way, this person would take businesses through the entire process. No more being shuffled from department to department and committee to committee.
Our team also plans to streamline various regulations and boards. Urbana’s book of ordinances (laws) is nearly a foot thick and more than 2,000 pages. That’s because no administration or city council has done the tough work of cleaning up this unwieldy set of laws dating back decades. The Urbana Wins team will work through every page & clean up the red tape hindering our businesses.
With 53% of Urbana students classified as disadvantaged by the Ohio Department of Education and the worst poverty rate of 10 communities according to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2017, there are certainly challenges facing our current and future workforce.
Our team plans to create a Director of Career Development & Education to facilitate a new career placement and training program. Starting in junior high, students would begin job shadowing at local businesses to start getting an idea of opportunities in the area. Then in high school, internships and part-time work opportunities would be available. This position would also help current workers transition between jobs and find new training opportunities. In partnership with local businesses, our career placement program will build a more reliable talent pool and help keep our best and brightest here at home.
Fully funding our emergency services is essential. I wrote a column a few months back in response to the current Mayor’s attempts to raise taxes. I explained that I would veto any effort to raise taxes until we can first demonstrate that we have saved every dime we can. The Urbana Wins team plans to eliminate more than $500,000 in government waste by modernizing systems, lowering healthcare costs, and eliminating unnecessary government positions. That way, this money can be put to better use for things like our first responders.
The U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2017, states that Urbana has a 20.5% poverty rate (that’s nearly doubled since the year 2000 and is about 2,250 people) and the worst median household income of 10 area communities. 53% of our students (about 1,160 kids) are classified as disadvantaged by the Ohio Department of Education. Addressing these issues must be our highest priority. That’s why our team has detailed our entire plan at UrbanaWins.com
I grew up in Urbana on my family's farm and believe there is a bright future ahead for us if we own the problems we are facing and put forward real solutions.
I graduated from UHS and attended Xavier University before pursuing my own business, TrueChat. Today, TrueChat is a national organization with clients like the Committee for Economic Development in D.C.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet many great advisers with years of government experience like Jon Huntsman, Ambassador to Russia and former Governor of Utah, and Steve Odland, the previous CEO of both Office Depot and Auto Zone.
In addition, I have spent more than 5,000 hours studying government and politics. I also served the bipartisan non-profit No Labels as the State Director of Ohio. I was a Field Organizer for Republican and Democratic candidates. Currently, I am serving on Urbana’s Charter Review Committee.