WEST POINT-Madison Township voters will have an experienced field to choose from as they head to the polls Nov. 5 to fill seats on the board of trustees.
The five men on the ballot include current and former trustees, former county commissioners and a former township road foreman.
Incumbents Gary L. Williams, 70, and Roger W. Walker, 68, will seek to retain their trustee positions against challengers John H. Payne, Glen A. Smith, and George Crews.
Crews, 78, and Smith, 66, both have experience working in the township. Crews was a trustee for 24 years and Smith was a former road foremen. Payne, 67, also brings a wealth of political experience as well, having formerly served as a Columbiana County commissioner.
Whomever voters choose to fill the office will face the challenges of dwindling Local Government Funding. Several candidates made note of this issues in their responses to this newspaper's candidate questionnaire.
"We have had to suffer drastic cuts in Local Government Funding and estate tax settlements that have crippled our ability to provide the type of service Madison Township residents deserve," said Williams. "It will be necessary for trustees to carefully evaluate and monitor the income and expenditure during the coming year."
"(I would) work alongside the other trustees and do my best with the funds we have to work with," said Walker, noting that it is the job of trustees to make the best of any financial situation.
Smith echoed Williams' concerns about funding, saying he would explore all avenues to obtain more funding.
"(I would) work with the County Economic Development Group, County Engineer and any and all other resources to find available funds," said Smith
"State budget cuts are the biggest issues facing the township," said Crews. "I would make sure that the taxpayers' money is spent wisely on things that are most needed."
"I would write for grants to keep improving our fire and road departments' equipment that would provide for continual training and education for our fire department personnel and road crew," said Payne.
When asked why they were seeking the office, the candidates each cited their availability and previous political experience as qualities.
"I am retired and available for the residents of Madison Township," said Walker. "If they need anything or have any issues, I am available. Feel free to call," said Walker.
"I have previous experience as a trustee and take my duties very seriously," said Crews. "I want to ensure that the taxpayers of Madison Township are getting what they are paying for."
"As a longtime resident of Madison Township, I want to offer my experience, training and knowledge to keep improving the quality of life for my fellow residents of Madison Township," said Payne.
" I feel with my past employment with Madison Township and serving as president of the West Point Fire Department, I know the community and the roads very well," said Smith.
When asked what changes or improvements they would bring to the township, candidates gave a variety of perspectives.
"In the past, I have always encouraged citizen participation. If elected I would continue on that path," said Crews.
Walker said he would "work alongside the other trustees and do my best with the funds we have to work with."
Payne asserted his ability to secure finances in his previous positions, something he said he could continue in serving as a trustee.
"I have successfully written grants for over $3 million for capital improvement projects," he said.
"I will be a full-time trustee, dedicating my time to the needs of the tax-paying residents in Madison Township," said Smith. "Developing 5-year plans, focusing on road maintenance and improvements, and work closely to prioritize projects and see them through until completion."
"This will be my 7th term as a trustee and clerk, and I have always provided a balanced budget, yet maintained and provided the essential services the residents of our township have come to expect," said Williams.