Troy Chamber of Commerce hosts Meet the Candidates Forum


By Matt Clevenger

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TROY — Candidates from several local races appeared with representatives from the Troy Schools Levy Campaign at the Troy Junior High School cafeteria on Tuesday, Oct. 10, to share their views and answering questions from the public during a special Meet the Candidates forum hosted by the Troy Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Troy Alumni.

“Troy City Schools has a combined 6.9 mill bond issue and levy on the ballot,” the forum’s moderator, Miami County Educational Service Center Superintendent Dave Larson, said. “The combined levy consists of a 37-year bond issue to build four new schools, and a 29-year, 2.3 mill levy for maintenance on the new construction and permanent improvements to Troy High School.”

“On average, our elementary school buildings are 81 years old,” Troy Schools Levy Campaign co-chair Ben Poeppelman said. “The national average is 42.”

“These buildings can no longer keep up with the needs of our teachers and students,” Poeppelman said.

The district’s plan calls for the construction of four new elementary school buildings, as well as major upgrades to the Troy High School building. If the proposed levy passes, state funding would cover $45.6 million, or approximately 30% of the project’s total cost.

“If we don’t pass this levy in the next two voting cycles, we will lose guaranteed state funding,” Poeppelman said. “If we want to optimize our hard-earned money with the utilization of state funds, the time is now.”

“The current Hook and Cookson sites will be abated and demolished, and new neighborhood elementary schools will be built onsite,” he said. “A new elementary school will be built on land already owned just east of the Concord Elementary site, and a fifth and sixth-grade building will also be built on land we already own on Swailes Road. The remaining current elementary schools will be abated, demolished and returned to green space.”

If the levy passes, Troy homeowners would pay an additional $20.30 for each $100,000 in home value, Poeppelman said, based on their property’s assessed value. Assessed values can be found through the Miami County Auditor’s website, he said.

“You only pay taxes on the assessed value, not the appraised value,” Poeppelman said. “The assessed value is the taxable value; that is 35% of the home’s appraised value.”

Four candidates for the Troy City Schools Board of Education also spoke during the Meet the Candidates forum, including Sarah Davis, Brian Honeycutt, Ben Redick and Tim Horgan. The candidates will compete for two available seats on the board during the upcoming election.

“I feel passionate about kids in general,” Davis said. “They are the next generation of this community, and we need to up our game when it comes to this.”

“It is critical to listen to parents, staff and team members and get their perspective,” she said. “I like to listen and solve problems, versus complaining about them.”

“The reason I am running for a seat on the school board is to give back to the school district that has given me so much,” candidate Brian Honeycutt said. “I want to make sure we make decisions that are in the best interests of our students, so they can be successful in the 21st century, and to empower our staff with the tools and resources necessary to help our students.”

School board candidate Tim Horgan recently retired after a 21-year career in the United States Air Force.

“My time in the Air Force taught me to work with very diverse groups in critical situations,” Horgan said. “My goal now is to bring those skills to a smaller scale, to serve and protect the students and educators of Troy Schools.”

“Collaborative efforts are what’s required for an effective board,” candidate Ben Redick said. “If elected, I commit to balance the needs of families, students, staff and the community, and work together with the rest of the board to be able to continue to improve this district.”

“I’ll work to keep our parents informed, our students and staff safe and our community welcome at all times,” Redick said.

All four school board candidates spoke in favor of the school levy and building plan.

“I am supportive of the bond issue,” Honeycutt, a Kyle Elementary School-alumni, said. “Our buildings are outdated; it is time to construct new buildings.”

“It would pain me to see that building come down,” he said, “but we also need to do what’s in the best interest of our students, which is providing them with a 21st century building that can handle all the needs that our teachers have with electricity and also technology.”

“I support the levy as well,” Horgan said. “The buildings are just simply really old. The facilities have to be up-to-date and current.”

Redick and Davis both said they also support the bond issue.

“Handicapped-accessibility is slim to none in most of the buildings,” Redick said. “These are facilities that the staff and students deserve, to be able to have the environment that is conducive to quality education.”

“At the beginning, I was a big proponent of just having one building, versus four,” Davis said. “It became apparent, based on the homework that they had done, that this was the best option. It became apparent that this community wants their small local schools.”

“I would encourage anyone who’s on the fence, not knowing if they want to support this levy or not, to go out and tour the buildings,” she said.

Approximately 50 to 75 students, staff members, parents and community members attended the Meet the Candidates forum. Poeppelman and the candidates also answered questions from the public, and a panel of local news editors including Sheryl Roadcap, editor of Miami Valley Today and the Miami Valley Sunday News, Power 107.1 FM owner Scott Hornberger and 98.1 WPTW Marketing Manager Aaron Teeter.

In addition to school board candidates, the forum also featured candidates seeking the positions of Concord Township Trustee and Concord Township Fiscal Officer.

“I know the requirements of this position, because I was the fiscal officer for Concord Township for 18 years,” Fiscal Officer candidate Pat Quillen said.

“I believe in serving my constituents,” Quillen said. “I always say that the person who cares the most will do the most, and I am the candidate who cares the most so I hope to have your vote this year.”

“I really like Concord Township; it’s a nice place to live,” Township Trustee candidate Greg Iammarino said. “Maintaining the status quo is good, but is that what we need for the future? Or are we looking for innovation; should we change things, should we be more transparent?”

“I’d like to see more transparency,” Iammarino said.

Township Trustee candidate Neil Rhoades and Fiscal Officer candidate Bill Whidden did not attend the Meet the Candidates forum.

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