Thoughts, Stances, and Goals

September 22, 2021

Keith Blowers
North Lawrence, OH 44666

Re: My thoughts, stances, and goals for Lawrence Township if I am elected as Township Trustee:

I suppose we should start with the fire department.  The township is extremely fortunate to have as many options on the table as we do, however, the lack of communication on the townships part has created a larger issue. I have had incredibly positive conversations with Chief Steward and Chief Rock to get their perspective on our situation.  As I see it, doing nothing is not an option.  We either need to lease or buy the Milan St station and renovate it, build a new station, or return to negotiations with North Lawrence FD.  The best answer may actually be a combination of these.  As of now the trustees seem set on pursuing a new fire station on the township campus.  While the idea sounds appealing, they have yet to share an idea of target cost and my experience in commercial construction tells me it will be quite expensive.  They approved a feasibility study a few weeks ago which may have shed more light on this however they went back and tabled it at the next meeting.  They may currently have enough EMS funds and potential loan options to get the project started without an additional building levy.  My concern would be that we get a year or so down the road and need to ask the residents for another tax because there is not enough money to cover costs and staff, etc.  At that point residents will be upset, and rightfully so.  Keep in mind this is only my opinion based on the information available to me.  The fact is that nothing is getting cheaper and staffing continues to be an issue everywhere.  This is an issue I am very familiar with running a business of nearly 200 employees every day.  However, when it comes to the safety of our families and our township there are no excuses, the township needs to take the necessary steps to ensure proper staffing in all departments.

While I am on the topic of the fire department, I would also like to address the fire levies.  There will be 3 fire levies on the ballot this November, all renewals.  I completely understand residents being upset about the current situation.  However, voting against a renewal levy is not the best approach.  Based on my conversation with Chief Stewart, the current levy funding runs out at the end of this year if it fails to pass in November.  After that the township will begin bleeding off the saved funds I alluded to above and cuts would become necessary before the end of next year.  I do not believe this is what any of us want.  The options I said we were fortunate to have above will be off the table if we cannot pass these renewals.  If you are unhappy with the situation this is your opportunity to make a change in our township’s leadership.  I can be that change, but regardless we should all be supporting the levy and encouraging others to as well.

On roads, there is always more great projects then there is funding.  Chuck has taken over after the departure of the previous road superintendent.  The trustees recently approved the hiring of an additional person, which was likely overdue from what I have gathered.  Past that it’s just making sure we are using our budget in a smart manner and give residents the most for their tax money.  There is a road levy renewal coming up next year so I am sure there will be more discussion on this at that time. 

My only comment on the police department is that nothing about policing is getting any easier.  I genuinely appreciate all the officers hard work in keeping this township a safe place to live.  I believe the trustees should be actively working with Chief Brown to make sure that the department has whatever training and resources it needs to continue serving all our residents. 

As for zoning and unsightly properties, this comes up regularly and it seems like each time it’s treated as a brand-new issue.  It would seem we could streamline this a bit by working with attorney Matthews to develop some standardized letters and procedures to follow each time.  In doing so we are taking the proper steps, working with residents, and everyone has clear guidelines and expectations.  Dealing with these issues quicky helps property values and would make the neighbors of said properties much happier.  This would also likely save considerable meeting time.

As a general statement, our township does not exist in a bubble.  As neighboring communities change and expand we should be actively communicating with them and looking for opportunities to benefit our residents.  I believe we have missed out in the past by not having proactive leadership.  I love our small rural township and wish to preserve it as much as possible but that cannot be done by only focusing inward.

These are just my opinions based on my personal experience and information I have gathered from sources I consider credible.  If elected, I promise I will make the best decisions possible for our families and our community ensuring the maximum services while keeping taxes low.  In addition, I will improve communication with residents, using more modern tools so everyone is aware of topics and will have relevant data on issues so they can be involved in their local government before problems escalate.  I will bring leadership and professionalism every time I represent this township.

If you have taken the time to read to this point you clearly care about the township and its future.  I would encourage anyone to reach out to me through social media or by calling or stopping by my office at Skipco Auto Auction.  I sincerely hope I can earn your vote and be given the opportunity to serve Lawrence Township this November 2nd. 


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