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The Daily



10-29-03: Four candidates compete for three Celina council seats


City voters will pick from four candidates to fill three at-large seats on the Celina City Council Tuesday.


Celina voters can choose from two newcomers, an incumbent and a councilor looking to change seats.
Each contestant interviewed by The Daily Standard cited water quality issues and a lack of city revenue as the major issues council members will have to wrestle with in the next four-year term. But how these problems should be attacked, the candidates’ ideas varied.
Christopher Mohler, 40, 1214 Canterbury Drive, Celina, said being on city council seems to be the next logical step in his record of community involvement. He has been active in local schools, a member of the Celina Mercer County Chamber of Commerce and Celina Rotary Club. He is running as a Republican.
“I think I’ve been very active in trying to participate in things that are going to try to improve our community. And I guess the next step is to be on city council,”
Mohler, who has been an investment representative for Edward Jones Investment for eight years, said, “As a husband, a father of three and a local business person, I truly have a vested interest in trying to make Celina the best it can be.”
Mohler has never held public office, but has more than 17 years of business management experience, a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and a master’s degree from the University of Toledo, he said.
“We need somebody that has a vision of where they would like to see Celina be in five years, 10 years and even 15 years down the road,” he said. “And we have to put some strategic plans in place to get there, and I think that’s been lacking in city government.
“I’ve been door-knocking, and most of our citizens are pretty well informed. They realize our problems didn’t happen overnight, and they don’t expect us to fix them overnight. They want us to spend our tax dollars wisely,” Mohler continued.
Calvin Scott Jr., 51, is a Celina High School social studies teacher and has spent his 29-year career in Celina. The Holly Street resident, known as June Scott, said his roots in Celina and common sense approach make him the clear choice. Scott is running as a Democrat.
“I’ve lived here all my life, so it’s about time,” Scott said. “I’m a concerned citizen. I care what’s going on in this town, I always have.”
Scott said the top issues pressing residents are water quality, aging infrastructure and jobs.
“We’re doing the quick fix on things, and we’re not really planning out maintenance. We’re not proactive; we’re really reactive. But we don’t have enough money to be proactive, money is the issue,” he said.
“We need to create some kind of avenue to get jobs in this town,” Scott continued. “I think the day of the big old Huffys is non-existent and, you know, I don’t think this town even wants to do that again. Do we want to put all our eggs in one basket again?”
The new route is promoting little businesses, he said.
As with the other candidates, Scott said he supports the idea of the lakefront revitalization master plan as a long-range planning document.
“I don’t necessarily think the master plan is going to come to fruition. It was the pie-in-the-sky idea. But portions of that can become possible,” he said.
“Anybody can do it with sincerity and a desire to do the job correctly. And I think I can do the job correctly,” Scott said. “If it takes boots and gloves, I’ll do that. If it takes a suit and tie, I’ll do that. Whatever it takes”
Collin Bryan, 53, has been on council for 10 years and is the trust officer for Community First Bank. A Republican, he said the council needs an individual like him to provide the stability of experience.
“We could potentially lose three of four council seats because of people leaving or seeking other offices,” Bryan said. “I felt as though we needed to have some experience on the council, so I opted to put my name in again.”
As with the others, Bryan said water quality is the top priority, but revenue may even be more important.
“In the big picture you’re always dealing with the quality of life, but I think the biggest issue were going to look at is revenue, or lack thereof.”
On the water issue, Bryan said he hopes a temporary fix can be found for the city’s water problems, to buy a few years to work out the correct plan of action.
“I’m not entirely convinced that well fields are the direction we want to go,” he said.
Bryan said current economic development efforts like the master plan and boardwalk are good ideas, but not a golden goose that will solve the city’s revenue shortages.
“We need to always keep our hand open to new businesses coming to town, but it’s not enough to boost our tax base and bring in the revenue needed,” he said.
“Residents expect good streets to drive on, good fire and police protection,” Bryan said. “Revenue is always the big challenge.”
Fearlessly, Bryan said an income tax increase is on the horizon, and most in city government agree that something of that sort is needed.
“I don’t think there’s any question in my mind that we need a half of a percent,” he said. “And we owe it to the voters to give them the chance to voice their opinion on that. We’ve cut the budget as much as we can.”
Republican Angie King, 37, 516 N. Mill St., has been on city council for two years as fourth ward representative. The self-employed real estate investor is seeking to move to an at-large seat and renew a four-year commitment.
Council members Bob Nuding, Sharon LaRue and Bryan were not running when King took out her nominating petitions, she said.
“My purpose was essentially to provide continuity to the at-large seats and to allow me to represent a larger constituency,” King said. “It provides an opportunity for higher areas of service to the community at large.”
With two years left in her current fourth-ward seat, if King wins Tuesday her seat will be vacated. The two Republican Central Committee members from the fourth ward would choose a person to fill the remaining two years of her term.
King said water, streets, sewers and jobs attraction are the most pressing issues to residents.
“We’ve got an industrial park sitting empty. We need to find a way to encourage small businesses to expand, because 80 percent of economic development comes from the home-grown businesses,” King said.
“We need to find a way to support them and encourage growth, from within. It’s not someone coming in and putting in a big industrial site,” she continued.
Property maintenance is also a big issue for King.
“We need to look at it through the eyes of a potential business owner or new resident coming to our community, to relocate. If they see some of our properties that are deteriorating, what kind of image does that set?,” she asked.
Above all, King’s experience and work ethic can get the job done she said.
“I have experience, I know what’s going on. I have accountability and I’m not afraid of confrontation,” she said. “That’s my promise, to continue to work hard. We’ve got some issues ahead of us and it’s going to be tough, but we’re going to have to be creative.”


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