Two current trustees have withdrawn from the Nov. 7 race, leaving only one incumbent vying for his seat and three others seeking a spot on the Hinckley Township Board of Trustees.
Trustees David J. Sambor and Melissa A. Augustine recently announced they will no longer seek re-election.
Sambor, 48, who served two terms, said he wanted to shift his focus more on his health-and- wellness business and three children.
"It's been eight years and I'm looking at focusing on other things in life," he said Friday. "Being a trustee, it's important that when things pop up you always prioritize, and I want to put that focus back on other areas."
Augustine, 39, was appointed by the board in February when former trustee Martha Catherwood stepped down to serve as the township's fiscal officer.
A message to Augustine seeking comment was not returned Friday.
Augustine's withdrawal means that challenger Becky Chattin Lutzko will run unopposed for the unexpired two-year term, ending Dec. 31, 2019.
Jim Burns, Scott Harrison, Chuck Ricco and incumbent Raymond Schulte are running for two open seats. Martha Catherwood is the only candidate running for fiscal officer, an unexpired term ending March 31, 2020.
Harrison did not respond to a written request for information about his candidacy.
Each candidate was asked two questions. Here are their responses:
Question: What makes you the best candidate for the position?
Burns: "While serving on the Hinckley Township Zoning Commission and a member of the township master policy planning committee in 2015, I have seen many of the issues that put pressure on our community's resources and infrastructure. These real issues which I have witnessed and debated, coupled with my (educational background), have prepared me for the financial, administrative and technical aspects of this position. As evidenced by my actions, continuous personal development is something I consider most valuable.
"Being approachable is another aspect of being a good trustee. I have developed my character and gregarious personality while in my business career and while volunteering in and around my community. I want the citizens of Hinckley to know they can talk with me and feel comfortable doing so. Showing each citizen due respect and consideration comes from having an empathetic heart, open mind, and friendly demeanor. I hold integrity above all else.
"I feel I have the necessary knowledge of our township's issues; I have a good understanding of our citizens' desires for the future; I have the skills to execute this responsibility professionally, skillfully, and efficiently."
Lutzko: "I am an educated, experienced, and successful professional with a long track record of exercising strong judgment and acting with integrity in positions of responsibility. I have worked as an attorney for the last 20 years, both for the federal government and in private practice at BakerHostetler, handling both criminal and civil cases.
"A trustee is a community caretaker, charged with being a good steward of the tax dollars entrusted by the community to his or her oversight. My past experiences and successes demonstrate that my community can trust me to make good, reasoned decisions on its behalf, and ensure that its money is spent wisely to provide quality fire, rescue, and police services, good roads and other community services. A trustee must also apply and enforce the Township's policies and procedures that were enacted to protect the community's interests, as well as abide by legal limitations imposed on funding measures. My legal experience gives me the tools to understand, adhere to, and enforce those policies and procedures.
"In both my professional and personal life, I have demonstrated a strong work ethic, sense of fairness, and sense of community, as well as an ability to understand complex issues and make well-reasoned decisions. I care about Hinckley, both where it has been, and where it is headed."
Ricco: "I am experienced. Having previously served as councilman in Brunswick, I have learned a lot about how government should and should not work. Furthermore, I am very dedicated. I do not take the role of public service lightly.
"My wife, Misty, and I decided to move to Hinckley a few years ago because we felt it was the best place to raise our two children. So far, Hinckley has lived up to our expectations. I feel there are things that need to be fixed to ensure that Hinckley remains a great place to live for future generations. Fixing these things will take time and money. I pride myself on the fact that I am meticulous and fiscally responsible and will assure you I will take the time to address all issues in a fiscally responsible way. I would not be running for trustee if I didn't think I could make a difference.
"I may not have been part of Hinckley's past, but I would sure like to be part of Hinckley's future."
Schulte: "My experience and dedication as a 12-year Hinckley trustee and a retired 40-year Pepsi sales manager has demonstrated my ability to create positive, productive relationships with citizens, counter parts and employees."
Question: What are the biggest challenges facing your township and how would you address them?
Schulte: "One of the biggest challenges is maintaining the rural character of the township. It can be addressed by continuing to work with the zoning commission and have a full understanding what developers are trying to accomplish as it complies with the Hinckley Comprehensive Plan.
"Another challenge is maintaining and improving many of the aging township roads. Developing a 5-year plan to repair and replace many of the aging concrete streets in the subdivisions would be a resolution. I would look to allocate appropriate funds from the general fund and any possible grant opportunities."
Ricco: "I feel a few of the biggest issues facing Hinckley today are the condition of the roads and the lack of accessibility to town hall.
"If there is one thing I have learned from my previous public service it is that roads do not deteriorate overnight and they do not get fixed overnight either. I have also learned that there are many funding sources available at the county, state and federal level. Some of this money including grants and matching dollars was very easily obtained by simply applying for it. As trustee, I would work hard to make sure roads get fixed and then continue to be maintained, which is something I do not feel is happening now.
"I also feel town hall is not as accessible to residents as it should be. Of all the meetings held at town hall, there is only one regularly scheduled trustee meeting per month that occurs outside of normal working hours. By regularly having meetings on weekdays at 9 a.m. or 4 p.m., it does not allow the working families access to these meetings. While serving on council in Brunswick, I held many events, special late night town hall meetings, meet and greets, and even created my own television show. These activities were all done with the sole intent of keeping residents informed.
"As a Hinckley trustee, I promise to open town hall up, listen to the residents and implement programs so that every resident could be equally heard."
Lutzko: "Hinckley must make sound financial decisions to provide quality services to its citizens, improve its community spaces and infrastructure in reasonable ways, and conserve its resources. As a trustee, I would devote the energy required to fully understand Hinckley's budgeting and funding-related issues, and prioritize its spending after obtaining input from safety and other service department representatives, community members and business owners. I would use my legal background and financial awareness to ensure that Hinckley complies with funding limitations and requirements.
"In particular, I would focus on addressing the ongoing and increasing repairs needed to many roads that the township maintains. Regarding infrastructure, I, like many other residents, would like to see a more vibrant town center. That said, while there are things we may wish for, I believe we need to set realistic goals compatible with the community's desire to retain our semi-rural environment.
"While it would be wonderful to finally bring water lines to the center of Hinckley, the project-area property-owner commitment that Medina County requires has not been achieved. Any such future initiatives will require significant interest from, financial outlay by, and commitment to the same from affected residents. Moreover, the absence of sanitary sewers in the Town Center presents an even larger obstacle. While opportunities may change over time, I would focus first on encouraging new business interests that compliment those already in the Town Center.
"Finally, Hinckley is blessed with many longtime residents. Although Hinckley does currently offer some services the aging population, I would work toward coordinating and encouraging more volunteer-based services, perhaps starting with seeking partnerships with Highland schools, its student organizations, and other community organizations."
Burns: "The most important characteristic of a trustee is to have the highest level of integrity. Citizens are placing their tax dollars in their trustee's hands to spend on issues that impact their homes and their lives. My first task as trustee will be to work with my colleagues on a budget planning for short-term immediate repairs and long-term maintenance of our roads. We need to not only repair our failing roads but we also need future funds to maintain all of our roads before they are too far gone.
"The 'character' of Hinckley, which we all cherish, is being tested. Considering the rapid (population) growth and future growth forecasts, strong leadership and long-term vision must be included in budgeting matters. My experience on Hinckley's master planning committee has given me the insight on what we can expect for the next 15 years and more importantly that solutions do exist to maintain our community's character.
"Connected with this population growth has been a recent construction explosion. I, like many of you, want to maintain the 'character' of Hinckley amidst this growth wave. Most citizens live in Hinckley to enjoy the open space and countryside appeal. Governing and guiding new developments by actively promoting well-planned conservation districts and enforcing zoning regulations is a viable and proven solution.
"One more topic to address is the fire levy on the (Nov. 7) ballot. While the community has grown, the financing of the fire department has not kept pace. Inflation has naturally caused a need for additional revenue.
"As trustee, I will see to it that the monies collected from this levy, should it pass, be spent to ensure that we are providing the best for our community."