Two familiar faces are running for mayor in Groveport this fall.
Mayor Lance Westcamp, who has been mayor of the village since 1994 and prior to that served as a councilman for seven years, is seeking re-election. His opponent is former councilman Dan Knode, who previously served on council for eight years.
I recently interviewed both candidates to get their views on issues facing the village of Groveport as well as why they are seeking the office of mayor.
Rick Palsgrove: Why are you running for mayor?
Westcamp: "The way things are going in the village right now, it’s all good. If things aren’t broke, don’t fix it. We have a good staff from the village administrator on down. Groveport is a good place to live and a good place to work."
Knode: "I feel change can be good. It brings new ideas and new perspectives. There’s some issues that need addressed and we’ll be a city soon, which will change our operations. I want to be there for that."
RP: What problems do you see facing the village and what solutions can you offer?
Westcamp: "There are some development issues, the economy in general, and some needed infrastructure improvements. But nothing we can’t handle. Our tax base is growing, which helps the economic issues. It’s why we have things like the rec center, the aquatic center, and golf course. The Pizzuti development downtown will also help. I hope it helps the downtown grow. Our success is a credit to council and our staff that can follow through and get things done."
Knode: "We have to be aware of and address growth – what it is and how it happens. It has to be positive. We also should consider relocating the police department to free up space at the municipal building. We should always be looking to upgrade our staff to get the best qualified people and use them to their best abilities. We also need to look at ways to improve the community, particularly infrastructure problems in the older sections of town. We also have to remember that the village doesn’t end on Main Street and we should consider all the neighborhoods when making plans."
RP: Groveport will become a city soon, what challenges will that pose to the village government?
Westcamp: "The police and public works departments would unionize, but I don’t foresee that as a problem. I don’t see the character of the town changing. It will be a city in name only, Groveport will keep its hometown nature and strength of its heritage."
Knode: "Becoming a city means new procedures for operating. I have no fear of the police unionizing. The change to a city will be in name only. It won’t change the character of Groveport."
RP: What do you think of the village’s relationship with Groveport Madison Local Schools?
Westcamp: "In the last year, the village’s relationship with Groveport Madison schools is as good as it’s ever been. We’re working well with the school board and superintendent. We plan on keeping communication with the schools open, especially about residential growth so they can plan for it."
Knode: "The council and mayor should address the school issue because, not only do the students need looked after, but the overall community is affected by the schools. People are moving out because of the schools. Groveport Madison schools are not what they should be. We need to be aware of the condition of the schools and look out for the community. We should do whatever it takes."
RP: What is the mayor’s role?
Westcamp: "The day to day operations of the village are the village administrator’s responsibility. My role is to be the public face for the community. The mayor is also the chief law official and the whole police department is on my shoulders. My role is also one where I am available to sit down with people on both sides of an issue, hear both sides, and help find a solution."
Knode: "The mayor should be the liasion between the village employees/management and the community’s residents. The mayor is the town’s spokesman. A mayor should also work closely with council. A council is only as good as its mayor and a mayor is only has good as his council. I will always make myself available for any resident’s needs or issues. I have no problems sitting down at the table with anyone and discussing anything."
RP: What are your goals for the village?
Westcamp: "I think we have recreation under control. Annexation is big on our plate and we’re looking south, east, and northeast for this for both commercial and residential growth. I don’t foresee it being all commercial. It takes a lot to get it done. I’m excited about the Pizzuti project downtown and to see what doors it will open and what more it can bring into the village."
Knode: "We need to address relocating the police department. The appearance of the town is good, but below ground needs some work so we need to address our infrastructure needs – water, sewer, and streets. We need to maintain our facilities. We need to strongly encourage the schools to improve or to change. As mayor I will be responsive to the community."