By Sheryl Roadcap
TROY — Two candidates, Robin Oda and William Lutz, are seeking the Republican nomination for city of Troy mayor in the May 2 primary election.
Both candidates are vying be elected to the position Mayor Robin Oda currently holds, which expires on Dec. 31.
Lutz is the executive director of The New Path, Inc., since 2014, and president of the Troy City Council. He hold a Bachelor of Science degree in urban affairs, with honors, from Wright State University, a Master of Public Administration from Wright State University, a certificate in nonprofit executive leadership from Indiana University, a certificate in fundraising leadership from Indiana University, and a certificate in nonprofit leadership from Texas A&M University.
His political history includes: Troy City Schools Board of Education, 2012-2013; Troy City Council at-large member, 2018-2019; Troy City Council president, 2020-current; Miami County Republican Party Central Committee Precinct representative, 2020-current; and Miami County Republican Party Central Committee chairman, 2022-current.
He and his wife, of 21 years, Ashley live with their two children, Jackson and Charlotte.
Oda is the mayor of the city of Troy. Her education includes some college.
As for her political history, she is a lifelong Republican; she also was a Troy City Council at-large member for eight years and is the current mayor of the city of Troy.
She and her husband, of 39 years, Scott have three grown children, SIL and DIL, and five grandchildren.
Each candidate was asked the same questions about their qualifications and why they are running for mayor of the city of Troy. The following is the questions and their answers with responses alternating on each question.
Why are you running for mayor?
Oda: I am running for re-election to continue serving this community and building on the successes and strengths that have defined the City of Troy for the last 3-1/2 years, even amidst a roller-coaster atmosphere. We have seen growth and renewal during a nationwide and statewide shutdown, which I did not support. We have been a shining light in the region and my desire and intent is to continue that.
Lutz: I am a lifelong resident here and my family has called Troy home for generations. I am running because I believe we can do a better job of serving our citizens. I want Troy to be a community where our children and grandchildren will have opportunities to grow.
And we can’t create that kind of community until we start actively including residents in our community’s future. Whether this means recruiting individuals to serve on our city’s boards or championing more public input in planning efforts, this community belongs to all of us and we need leadership that understands that fact.
Why do you feel you’re the best candidate to serve as mayor?
Lutz: I believe with the educational credentials and the experiences I have serving in local government, I can bring a perspective and a vision that will provide our residents with the leadership, vision and commitment our community deserves.
From my work at the first township administrator in Miami County in Bethel Township, to my work rehabilitating the Fort Piqua Plaza and tearing down the Piqua Memorial Medical Center, I have built stronger and more resilient communities.
People who know me know of my work ethic and my dedication to creating positive partnerships and making government work for and respect taxpayers.
Oda: Having served eight years as an at-large Council member and for the last 3-1/2 years as mayor, I am the most qualified candidate. I already have a working understanding of what the position requires. Not only am I currently the mayor, but I have an amazing team already in place working to continue the upward trajectory that Troy is currently experiencing.
How can you improve communication with Troy residents?
Oda: Communication has been always been a passion of mine as I serve the public. I have a Facebook page that is dedicated to two-way communication with residents regarding things happening with city government and around town. As a council member, I started the quarterly Saturday morning meetings with residents, which still continues with the current at-large council members. As mayor, I have worked continuously to improve the city website and the information available to residents. As newspapers are struggling, I still encourage residents to be subscribers. The city has multiple ways of disseminating information, and I hope residents are using these to stay informed.
Lutz: Simply saying. “Residents can call me” is not a successful strategy for improving communication. Leaders need to actively seek out the concerns and the ideas of our residents.
I am committed to lead efforts to create a comprehensive survey of the services we provide. I want to know from you those services that our city is providing well and those services where we need to make an improvement.
In those areas where we are setting the standard, we will continue to do so. In those areas where we are weak, we will commit ourselves to make improvements.
What is the biggest challenge the city of Troy is facing?
Lutz: By 2025, we need to come up with a new comprehensive plan. This plan will guide future decisions in terms of land use, infrastructure and services for the next few decades. In order for this plan to be a success, we need public input at every step of the process, from project kick-off, community visioning and project implementation.
The last time our community went through this process, back in the early 2000s, our city’s only attempt at public participation were two meetings at the end of the project. I am committed to engaging the public throughout the entire planning process.
Oda: Troy experiences the typical challenges that any municipality faces in its day-to-day operations. At the end of the day, Troy is succeeding. The last three years have been a roller coaster and yet we’ve seen consistent continued growth both residentially and in the business sector, and much positive energy all around. The local and national rhetoric continues to center on transportation, childcare, and workforce housing, along with a diminishing work ethic. I have been involved with discussions regarding all of these, and that continues. On a practical level, the City of Troy partnered with Rides to Work via a donation, and we were happy to do that. Government is not the answer to these issues, be we are willing to be at the table for the discussion of possible solutions.
Do you think more businesses and housing are needed in Troy? And if so, how do you plan to accomplish this?
Oda: A community only succeeds if it is growing in both sectors. Troy is doing that and my intent is to see it continue. We continue to follow our Comprehensive Plan, to invite and encourage business growth, along with providing a wonderful community and quality of life for residents who choose to live and locate here.
Lutz: The City’s commissioned MKSK study showed that while there is a need for housing, we are only seeing single-family residential lots being developed. This is squeezing out younger families and seniors that often prefer more housing options such as townhouses. We should look at ways that we can effectively encourage new housing that will serve our community.
A vital business climate is a key to a stronger community. Businesses of all shapes and sizes provide increased economic opportunities for all our residents and our local government should strive to support all our local businesses within Troy.
What is your stance on the situation with the Tavern Building?
Lutz: After years of minimal maintenance, it can be debated whether the cost of restoration is greater than the value any renovations could provide. What can’t be debated is that a grass lot is not an adequate reuse plan, as voted upon by our city’s planning commission.
Whatever the end result, either a restored building or new construction, a clear vision needs to be communicated on not only what the building will look like, but what the building will actually be used for. Any new use of the building needs to complement the strengths we have in our beautiful downtown.
Oda: I support any business and/or developer who follows the city codes and guidelines in accomplishing their goals, including the owner of the 112-118 W. Main St. property. This particular property owner’s financial and business goals have changed, and I support his decision to sell the building and/or property. I do not support local residents who band together to tell a private property owner how to spend his/her money. The city will continue to follow the legal processes, along with any issued court orders regarding the IOOF building, as well as our Law Director’s guidance.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Oda: I am looking forward to serving the Troy community as mayor for another term. The May 2nd primary is extremely important, and I hope that all registered voters will be out an cast a vote for me, Robin Oda, for Mayor.
Lutz: Our community will have challenges over the next four years and we need leadership that will meet those challenges head on with an approach that puts the needs of our residents first. Throughout this campaign, I have focused on sharing my vision and values and described my experiences and educational background. I believe I am the better candidate prepared to lead our hometown into the future and ask for your vote for Mayor on May 2nd in Troy’s Republican Primary Election.