JACKSON TWP. – Four years ago, John Pizzino and Todd Hawke had no objection when they sought new terms as trustees of the Township of Jackson.
This year, four opponents – including a former township administrator – stepped in as challengers in the non-partisan race.
Pizzino is running for his sixth four-year term after being appointed to fill a vacant position in January 2001, and elected for a full term later that year. Hawke was appointed to the Board of Trustees in April 2012 and has been elected twice.
Three of the challengers were never elected to public office, while the fourth, Rick Campbell, broke five terms as Stark County recorder. In 1997, Campbell won a four-year term as Jackson Township Trustee. He left the post in 2000 to serve as recorder, and Pizzino was appointed to replace Campbell.
Pizzino and Hawke said that as administrators they enjoy working for the township and its residents.
âWe have a great team right now who are moving a number of valuable projects forward,â said Hawke.
Pizzino said he wanted to continue working to support the township’s police and fire departments, as well as developing parks and maintaining highways. “I will strive to keep all of these services affordable and second to none,” he said.
Meet the challengers running for Jackson’s administrator
Campbell and challengers John Ney and Amy Kunkle argue that changes are needed to reduce township spending, while steps should be taken to control development within the community.
Doug Sutter joined the other three challengers in voicing concerns about increased traffic and congestion, as well as the problems created by road construction projects underway around the township.
Campbell said the township needs to take a more conservative approach and develop a coordinated plan. He also believes that trustees need to be smart to protect the township’s green spaces while reigning over unbridled growth.
Ney argues that steps must be taken to reduce the township’s property taxes. He also suggests that the township should be run like a business, with efforts to reduce costs while maintaining services.
Kunkle said she believes the township is ready to slow development. She wants to eliminate zoning rules that allow smaller lots in planned unit developments. Other housing developments are straining the town’s services and increasing costs, she said.
Sutter campaigned for improved internet service in the township and the possibility of developing a similar municipal system in Fairlawn or Medina.
What the incumbents say
Hawke cited a series of projects over the past four years that he says have benefited the township in recent years.
The list includes the new amphitheater and other changes to North Park; the development of the Tam O’Shanter golf course and the creation of a county and township park in addition to the commercial areas; bring the headquarters of the Schroer group back to the canton; and the extension of Strip Avenue to Applegrove Street NW.
The township has also developed several joint economic development districts with Township that support new businesses while providing income taxes used to fund police and fire departments, Hawke said.
Pizzino and Hawke both noted that the township’s property tax rates are based on levies that have been approved by voters. Separate levies fund the police, firefighters, parks and road services.
Pizzino said the amounts of the levies were based on five-year plans drawn up with the heads of departments. The plans are based on the operations of the department, as well as short and long term needs, he said.
Hawke that the amounts collected are based on the funds needed to operate the township departments. The levies are then submitted to the voters, who have the last word. “Voters see the amount and if they agree, they support it,” he said.
Jackson Township Board Candidates
7536 Diamondback Avenue NW
Education: Bachelor, Associate, and Ohio Police Academy, all from Akron University.
Job: Retired after serving five terms as Stark County Recorder.
Todd J. Hawke
9318 Paulding Street NO
Education: Bachelor of Ohio Wesleyan University
Job: Principal at GDK & Co.
9077 Traphagen Street NO
Education: Baccalaureate University of Arizona
Job: Freelance architect
9604 Cliffview Street NO
Education: MBA from University of Maryland, MA from Arizona State University, BA from Franciscan University of Steubenville
Job: Director of Business Development and Co-Owner Regor Energy Corp.
6117 Old Church Avenue NW
Education: Jackson High School
Job: Retired business owner
6300, rue Portage NO, apt. 3
Education, Twinsburg High School, studied at Kent State and Cuyahoga Community College
Employment: First communications