Two candidates run for Franklin Twp. trustee
Two candidates are running for Franklin Township trustee on the Nov. 8 ballot, including incumbent Timothy Guyton and John Fleshman.
Guyton has been a trustee for 20 years, with the majority of that time serving as chairman of the board. He also has 30 years supervisory experience in retail and catalog distribution.
Fleshman was an auxiliary firefighter for six years with Columbus Division of Fire and has run his own photography company for the past 21 years. He also works with non-profit organizations like animal shelters using photography to increase adoption.
Guyton said a trustee should be responsive to the needs of township residents as a whole. He said this includes watching how money is spent and assuring service levels are maintained.
Guyton sits on the County Board of Zoning Appeals and the planning commission board and said he has worked with county departments toward the clean-up of the township, solving sanitary sewer issues, road related problems and the redevelopment of the Westside.
“I am working now to find funding from the county to have domestic water and sanitary sewers installed for all residential properties that currently do not have these services. I am the lead negotiator with the city of Columbus working to protect our commercial tax base,” Guyton said.
Guyton said the township faces reduced funding from the state.
“I have asked our department heads to work with other entities to share resources where they can. We’re doing as many tasks as possible in-house that were once contracted out,” Guyton said.
Guyton said he is addressing the budget cuts by developing a long term contract for a cell tower on township property, an ongoing fire contract with Valleyview and negotiated trash rates through a single hauler to save money for the township and residents. Additionally, Guyton said he is working to bring more businesses into the commercial area to keep residential tax burden to a minimum.
Other issues include a lack of water and sanitary sewer service for many residents, Guyton said.
“On the water and sewer issue, I am working closely with our sanitary sewer engineer to find county funding directed specifically for the purpose of installing domestic water and sanitary sewer to those areas that lack these services,” Guyton said. “The cost to perform this service is extremely high and will need to be accomplished over a number of years.”
Fleshman said the role of trustee is that of a problem solver and listener. He said sometimes you must think outside the box to find a fresh way to resolve issues. One of his concerns is the property value dropping in the township and finding ways to improve the community to reverse this from happening further.
With venues like Westland Mall potentially blooming, Fleshman is concerned about commercial businesses annexing into the city. He said he would like to create a relationship with current and future companies to keep them in the township.
“It’s very vital for our community to stay a community, to not lose these anchors,” Fleshman said. “If we don’t hold the ground we have, we are going to be losing it and we’re not getting it back.”
Fleshman said he is one of a few photographers who are authorized to be a vendor at any Sam’s Club store, a privilege, he said, that was no easy task. He said his experience working with organizations to get things done can be applied to the expected redevelopments of the Westside and move in a positive direction.
“Even though it’s a business, you’re working with your neighbors,” Fleshman said.
He added, that with funding being cut in half for the township and the uncertainty of what the changes the casino will bring, the township must find inventive ways to deal with important issues. Fleshman said, since his only source of income comes from what he can produce, he knows how to stretch a dollar.
“I know the value of a dollar and how to make it last as long as it can, looking at my resources and make them work together,” Fleshman said.