Those who read this column with any regularity may have noticed that I use quotes quite often. I love a good quote because it is an entire sermon wrapped within a few profound words.
Recently, I came across one attributed to Abraham Lincoln that is worth pondering. Said he, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
It may seem a little early to bring up the subject of elections, but consider that Oct. 10 is the last day to register to vote for the Nov. 7 election, and Oct. 11 begins early in-person and absentee voting. Voter registration can be done online at https://olvr.ohiosos.gov or in person at the Board of Elections in Ravenna.
Last month, I included a list of local Brimfield races and issues, with incumbent Fiscal Officer John Dalziel running unopposed; incumbent Field School Board Member Larry Stewart, who is also running unopposed; and incumbent Brimfield Township Trustee Sue Fields, who is being challenged by Bob Losey for a seat on the board of trustees. Field Local School District is seeking two levy issues as well.
Franklin D. Roosevelt wisely said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” I firmly believe in the importance of searching for correct information about those running for office and seriously considering pros and cons of each issue. To help voters choose wisely, I sent a questionnaire to both Sue Fields and Bob Losey. Following are the questions and their replies:
Q: Tell a little about yourself and your family.
Sue Fields: “I am an active member of the Harmony Baptist Church in Tallmadge. I come from a large farming family in rural Ohio. I have been a Brimfield resident for 37 years. I currently have 28 nieces and nephews, with 53 great-nieces and nephews.”
Bob Losey: “I was born and raised on a dairy farm in central Ohio. After high school, I attended Ohio Northern University, graduating with my mechanical engineering degree and later earned my master’s degree in business administration from Kent State University. I worked for Goodyear for over 43 years and just recently retired. I have been married to my wife, Cheryl, for 43 years and we have three sons. We have resided in Brimfield for 30 years. Being an avid sports fan, I root for Kent State, Ohio State, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. I coached youth sports in Brimfield (basketball, soccer and baseball) for 8 years each and spent many years volunteering with the Brimfield Troop 259 Boy Scouts.”
Q: What qualifications do you have to be a township trustee?
Sue Fields: “My qualifications include 30 years in corporate business as a human resources administrator for local businesses (Goodyear Aerospace, Ohio Brass, and Mansfield Tire and Rubber). I also have 27 years’ experience as a Brimfield Township Trustee, past president of the Brimfield Chamber of Commerce, eight years president of the Brimfield Community Food Cupboard, and past secretary for the Portage County Township Association.”
Bob Losey: “While at Goodyear, I spent my career as an engineer figuring out how to make things better and more efficient, while trying to accomplish more with less. We were always given a budget that was never enough, but we usually figured out ways to do things more efficiently so we could deliver more than expected. These skills will translate well to managing township funds wisely. Also, because of my background and experience I was given the task of managing our group’s government interactions, so I have experience working with many government entities to accomplish goals that have never been done before. Since running a township is a business, my master’s degree in business administration from Kent State University will be an asset.”
Q: What prompted you to run for a township trustee position?
Sue Fields: “My desire is to continue serving our residents and to see the projects I am involved with come to completion.”
Bob Losey: “I care about Brimfield and want to see it be the best version of itself, whether that be the safety of the residents, managed growth, or better recreational opportunities. Since retiring, I now have the time where I can fully devote myself to being a township trustee.”
Q: What do you feel you will bring to the board of trustees?
Sue Fields: “I bring a calm, logical decision-making process to the board with a high degree of integrity.”
Bob Losey: “During my career at Goodyear, I was used to leading large projects and doing them in the most cost-efficient way. That often meant finding new ways of working or finding untapped sources of funding. I especially will bring a fresh set of eyes to the current board and a strong desire to set achievable goals that will benefit community members.”
Q: What do you feel are the biggest concerns and priorities for Brimfield Township?
Sue Fields: “My biggest concern is a controlled growth in compliance with the township’s resident-approved Land Use Plan.”
Bob Losey: “As a longtime resident of Brimfield, I have seen it grow considerably. I think that services need to grow accordingly. I think that the police, fire and roads departments have done a decent job, the parks are starting to grow, but more can be done. Youth activities are an area where I feel there is more opportunity. The new library and soccer fields will be a great asset. Of course, anything that can be done to improve safety for the community needs to be a top concern. In that regard, working to complete the new fire station should be a priority.”
Q: How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process?
Sue Fields: “By conducting periodic online surveys giving residents a forum to express their concerns and opinions. Also, organizing community activities such as our annual Brimfest and various parks and recs activities where the residents can have face-to-face conversations.”
Bob Losey: “I want to hear differing views and then try to reach a consensus/compromise within the given constraints. No one will ever get everything that he or she wants, but with a little give and take, hopefully everyone will be happy in the end. I welcome opportunities to speak to residents and plan to make my phone number readily available.”
Both candidates gave permission to post their phone numbers and an invitation for anyone who desires to contact them for further discussion. Sue Fields: (330) 673-1073; Bob Losey: (330) 310-0576.
While John Dalziel is running unopposed, he welcomed the opportunity to share a little of what he does:
“Greetings Brimfield Residents,
I’m John Dalziel, and I have served as your township fiscal officer since September 2006. Even though I am currently running unopposed, I would still like to take this opportunity to inform residents about what my office does and some of the things happening this year.
“The Township Fiscal Officer is an elected official who is responsible for managing the finances of the township. According to the Ohio Revised Code, the Township Fiscal Officer must keep an accurate record of all township accounts and transactions, including recording accurately the proceedings of the Board of Township Trustees, i.e., keeping the minutes. The Fiscal Officer must strictly comply with the legal requirements set for their duties, establish and practice rules for efficient management of their office, and follow good accounting practices in maintaining records.
“The Fiscal Officer is also responsible for paying bills, payrolls, and receiving revenue as it is distributed to the township. Working with department heads, the fiscal office develops annual budgets and plans financially for the fiscal year.
“The Township Fiscal Officer may hire and appoint one or more staff members as they find it necessary to provide assistance in the fiscal office. I currently have two assistants.
“For 2023, the township has a budget of over $12 million and 68 employees spread throughout the following departments: Police, Fire, Road, Zoning, Parks, Cemetery, IT, HR, and Fiscal. We also have three elected trustees. Township hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. I welcome those who would like to stop in and say hi! I hope this information is helpful. Though Brimfield has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, what has not changed is that it is a wonderful place to live.”
Finally, the Field Local School District is seeking approval on two issues. One is a 10.75-mill renewal levy for current operating expenses, combined with 1 mill for ongoing permanent improvements, for a total of 11.75 mills. The second is a 7.3-mill renewal levy for current operating expenses. Both issues would be for five years, starting in 2024. After searching on the school’s website and Facebook page and finding no mention of these levies, I called the administrative office and was assured that there would be a fact sheet on the school’s website beginning Tuesday, Oct. 3. The website is at www.fieldlocalschools.org.
For those who may have missed the news, there is a “SHARING CART” in front of the Brimfield Bread Oven. Jud and Genevieve Smith have expanded their free bread cart to include space for anyone to bring extra produce from their garden to share with anyone who wants it. This cart has all free items on it, and the Brimfield Bread Oven contributes bread daily. While gardens are slowing down production, fruit trees and squash seem to be in abundance this year. The cart will be outside while the store is open and brought in after closing so the animals don’t make a mess. Spread the word to all your friends. A huge thank you to those who have generously shared their bounty! Each time I have visited the Bread Oven, I have seen a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on the cart. It makes me proud to be a Brimfield resident.
You may have noticed the old Sully’s Tavern on Tallmadge Road has been torn down. Joe’s BBQ fans can rejoice as construction will soon begin for his new restaurant. With the Brimfield Bread Oven and Joe’s BBQ, what more could you ask for!
Brimfield trustees recently announced that there will be a new sign at Brimfield town center. It will replace the current sign with higher resolution to make it more readable. An important note is that it is being paid for with a NOPEC grant and no tax money will be used for it.
October Programs and Events:
– Brimfield Boo! Cruise Halloween House Decorating Contest. Registration deadline is Oct. 8. For more information, see the township webpage or call Cassie Weyer at (330) 221-0103.
– Saturday, Oct. 14, 4-6 p.m.: Trunk-or-Treat sponsored by Brimfield Parks and Rec. Enjoy spooky fall fun for the whole family! Bring your friends and family to participate in this free Trunk-or-Treat event. Costume parade, contests, lawn games, photo ops, scavenger hunt and more. (Note from Cassie Weyer, park director: To clarify the procedures for Trunk-or-Treat, residents or businesses can sign up to be a “trunk” to hand out candy, swag, etc., and will set up before the event start time. Patrons will arrive at the event start time and collect candy from the trunks on foot. Registration is required for trunks only. Both the parks & rec page on the township website and the parks store page have been updated to make registration for Trunk-or-Treat and the Boo! Cruise Halloween House Decorating Contest easier to find. Please see the following links:
– Sunday, Oct. 15, 2 p.m.: Mushroom Walk & Talk. Celebrate National Mushroom Day with a walk along the Bryner-Twitchell Trail at Lions Park in search of fascinating fungi! Please wear appropriate hiking footwear, and bug spray is recommended. Meet at the Honeychuck pavilion.
– Saturday, Oct. 21, 4:30-7 p.m.: Falcon Fall Festival sponsored by The Big Red Community Foundation. This is a FREE event at Field Middle School and includes food trucks, hayrides, treat trail, photo booths, Touch A Truck, raffles, face painting, contests, and a Big Red Trunk or Treat from 6 to 7 p.m. Costumes are encouraged.