By Linda Dillman
When Howard Hahn recently stepped down as a Hamilton Township trustee, his action
ended a decades-long heritage of family service to the township by Hahn, his father, and grandfather.
“I have always been interested in local and township government,” said Hahn, who is also a Madison Township firefighter. “My grandfather and father were both trustees for Hamilton Township, so I was exposed to government at a young age. After attending the American Legion Buckeye Boys State during high school, I knew that I would run for office at some point.”
Hahn ran for the first time in 2009 but was defeated by 86 votes. He ran two years later and was sworn in as a trustee in 2012. He was re-elected in 2015 and 2019.
While Hahn does not rule out another run for public office in the future, he is now focused on spending more time with his family.
A move outside township boundaries forced Hahn to resign. His vacancy was recently filled by the appointment of Todd Blackstone, who ran for office in 2019.
“I will miss the interaction with the residents and walking door to door during campaigns,” said Hahn. “I could get honest information from the residents while talking to them during the door to door campaigns. Time constraints, including work, sports, and family activities prevent many residents from attending the trustee meetings, so these interactions were key to knowing the needs/wants of the residents.”
In reflecting back on his years as a trustee, Hahn said important highlights involved the fire department and sheriff’s department.
“The successful passage of both fire and police services levies allowed for the improved safety and health of every resident in the township,” said Hahn, who said the levies afforded trustees the ability to increase staffing within the fire department by placing an additional crew in service at Station 171.
During his tenure, the trustees purchased replacement equipment, apparatus, and lifesaving equipment for the fire department to increase department capabilities, along with replacing equipment for the road department, which helped decrease maintenance costs.
The biggest challenge Hahn faced as an elected official was administering fiscal issues.
“No one ever wants to pay more in taxes, but they are needed for governments to function and provide for the overall welfare of the township,” said Hahn. “The trustees and employees of the department constantly worked to minimize costs, while still providing exemplary service to the residents. Hamilton Township still has some of the lowest tax rates of all townships in Franklin County. One goal I was not able to complete was the building of a new/replacement firehouse for Station 171. The current station has served the residents of the township for over 60 years, but the department has outgrown it.”
Hahn said his father, Gary, served as trustee for more than 23 years and is still amazed by how much the township has grown, especially in regard to commercial and residential development.
“He remembers when the Hartman farm was still in operation, I-270 was not built, and when Rickenbacker Air Base was still in full operation,” said Hahn. “I remember my father getting up at all hours of the night and during the day, to leave to address a resident’s concern or to respond to a fire emergency within the township. It didn’t matter time of day, cold, rain, or if he had other plans, he would immediately leave to address the residents’ concerns. He was the epitome of dedication.”
Gary was also a volunteer firefighter for the township for 30 years. His son followed in his father’s footsteps and entered the fire service in 2001.
Although Howard moved out of the township, he plans to keep in contact and expressed a desire to assist and help out in any way possible. He wished residents and township employees his best and said he will truly miss serving as a trustee.
“Hamilton Township is positioned fairly well, but there are still some areas to address, which I know the current administration will work tirelessly on for the residents,” said Hahn. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for not only the residents, but employees of the township. The administration has worked tirelessly with the department heads to secure funding and protect the health of every employee and resident to the best of our abilities.”