BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Boardman trustee up for reelection, along with his three challengers, came together Monday evening for a public forum about flooding in the township.
About 50 people attended the Boardman Civic Association’s candidates night.
The four running for trustee — Tracie Balentine, Tabitha Fitz-Patrick, Jason Pavone and incumbent Larry Moliterno — all spoke.
“You know what? It’s really easy to run for office. It’s not so easy to do the job,” Moliterno said.
There have been big crowds recently at some Boardman trustees meetings, which are full of people wanting answers to the flooding problems.
That was among the topics of discussion Monday.
Moliterno said Boardman has already spent $3 million on stormwater projects, formed the ABC Water District to do more and made requirements for new development.
“We’ve enforced regulations on redevelopment and new construction that will be a vast improvement over our current issues.”
The trustees are also working with an engineering firm to come up with a comprehensive stormwater plan — an idea one candidate disagreed with because she said private companies have private interests.
“What I was thinking is perhaps reaching out to the local universities like Ohio State, and YSU, and Kent and partnering with their engineering departments,” Fitz-Patrick said.
Balentine held up an Ohio Economic Development manual as she pointed out Boardman’s high taxes.
“Instead of learning about these tools and implementing them, we continue to levy upon levy, and it gets us to where we are now — one of the highest tax places in Mahoning County,” she said.
“When you have politicians that stay for a role in years, and years and years, it leads to no new thinking,” Pavone said.
He said he wants term limits for the trustees, suggesting two four-year terms.
He also wants salaries for township employees to be in line with the private sector.
“In other words, comparable salaries and comparable benefits,” Pavone said.
All were asked about Boardman changing from a township to a city and all were opposed to the idea, saying it would cost too much money to get it done.
At one point, Moliterno mentioned Boardman has a $20 million budget. Balentine said it was $28 million.
When incumbent fiscal officer Bill Leicht spoke, he told Balentine she was wrong — it’s not 28 million — and if she’s elected she’d better know her numbers before coming into his office.