By Keith Gushard
With three Republican candidates running for nomination and no opposing Democrats, the race for a spot on the Vernon Township Board of Supervisors could be decided this spring.
Two of the three candidates — Denis Alexatos, local contractor and businessman; and Dick Astor, current Meadville Medical Center board member and retired Conneaut School District superintendent, participated in an open forum Tuesday evening to explain their platforms to the public and promote their campaigns.
Alden Hills, incumbent supervisor and retired toolmaker, declined participation in the event, confident in his re-election based on his 14 years of experience serving on the board.
“I don’t want to discredit the other candidates,” Hills said. “I decided not to join the debate because I know what I like to do. I enjoy serving the township and I’m out there for the taxpayer.”
Stating no personal agenda or specific platform, Hills simply wanted to stand for re-election on his own merit, citing 14 years of experience and a strong work dynamic with his fellow supervisors, promoting public service projects while contributing to the decisions that lowered the township property tax.
Hills’ basic plan is to continue as-is, working amicably with the board’s current members to keep improving the township.
His opponents also voiced their support of township growth, structurally and economically.
“I think this township is well run,” Astor said. “My agenda is to see the township flourish and grow and keep developing the way it is.” He also wants to “make sure we serve the people of Vernon Township adequately.”
If elected, Astor hopes to utilize his prior experience with supervising boards and apply research to the decision-making process before reaching a group consensus and potentially establish programs and systems for significant issues the supervisors may address in the future.
“I’m concerned for safety as a focus; the welfare of all citizens young and old,” Astor said.
Astor also promotes a substantial police force and fire department while emphasizing the importance of public safety projects that enhance local infrastructure.
While opposed to regionalizing neighboring police and fire departments, Astor does want to reach out to the township’s surrounding areas via utility expansion, specifically water lines, to improve financial reserves.
Alexatos also promoted his prior experience as a major main selling point, mentioning his lifelong residency and direct involvement in the township’s construction and economic development.
“I’m for the little man who struggled and made the township what it is today; a township that stands on its own two feet,” Alexatos said. “I have new ideas; I can bring more (ideas) on building and construction and change things to let the township promote itself.”
Alexatos believes the low tax structure is a product of the local developers and believes Vernon Township’s Board of Supervisors needs to be more active regarding the cases and complaints of individual taxpayers.
“I’ve been in front of this board (of supervisors) numerous times complaining about things I don’t approve of,” said Alexatos, who favors decisive action on matters addressed by the board, albeit with considerable discussion. “I can bring this board what it needs; what this township needs.”
The Tribune candidates forum will re-air on Armstrong cable television Channel 23 tonight at 10 p.m., Sunday at 1 and 8 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.