SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Two candidates with past experience as a Shawnee Township trustee are contending for the position this November election. Current incumbent Chris Seddelmeyer, who is seeking her fourth term, is being challenged by Russ Holly, who is seeking his sixth term.
Holly had lost his former spot on the trustee board in 2017 after losing the election by less than 30 votes, and he said he decided to run after being prompted by fellow Shawnee residents.
“I was asked by a lot of people to get back and try to get the ship straightened out,” Holly said. “There are a few things that have occurred that need to be addressed.”
When asked about the performance of the current board, Seddelmeyer said the current group of trustees works well together with different skill sets complementing each other.
“I think we work extremely well together, and there’s room for improvement. If we’re finding somewhere that we can perhaps do a better job, we’re going to make sure we do that job as well as we can,” Seddelmeyer said.
As for issues facing Shawnee Township, both candidates spoke about the need for fiscal responsibility and the loss of government funding from the state and federal levels for local municipalities affecting township budgets.
“I think the number one issue for all political subdivisions is tax dollars, and some of them are going away,” Holly said. “As a trustee, you’re a steward of taxpayer dollars. You try to work within the parameters of the state and spend the dollars as wisely as possible.”
“That directly affects how our departments operate. So with our police and fire departments and also the road department and having to maintain our infrastructure, our roads are constantly in need of maintenance and upkeep and those funds that we use have been decreasing,” Seddelmeyer said.
To keep budgets in line, both trustees said they rely on deliberations with the township’s fiscal officer and department heads to find places to reduce spending.
“It’s all up to our department heads and how they manage their own internal budgets, and we’ve seen great strides in reducing our expenses. And we have an excellent fiscal officer who keeps us informed,” Seddelmeyer said. “That has been extremely helpful.”
“You sit down with your fiscal officer who is in charge of township dollars, and you work the best you can in the best and wise fashion as possible. When I was there in the last several terms prior, I was usually the one negotiating the labor contracts,” Holly said.
Outside of their time spent as township trustees, Seddelmeyer works as the owner of the travel agency Travel Concepts. Holly is a cross country and track coach at Shawnee schools. He also works as a motorcycle safety instructor for Motorcycle Ohio.
“I love doing this. I have learned so much about what it takes to have a successful township to be responsible to the residents and businesses and make sure we are moving the direction best for all involved,” Seddelmeyer said.
“As I was there in the past, you can count on me to be there. When people call, I respond to them. You can check my record. I was there. I didn’t miss meetings. I was there and available for people to respond to in a positive or negative manner,” Holly said. “I was available pretty much every day. When you take the job, you need to look at that.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.