Piqua meets its candidates

Unopposed candidates speak on issues

By Sam Wildow - Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — Candidates and a representative for a local levy on the Nov. 5 were front and center Tuesday evening during the Piqua YWCA’s annual Meet the Candidates Night.

Clint Bostick, who currently sits on the Piqua Board of Education and is seeking re-election, said he sought to be a part of the board due to wanting to remain a part of the district.

“I loved working with students,” Bostick said. Bostick retired in 2012 after 17 years of working for Piqua City Schools. Bostick and his family moved to Piqua in 1995, when he was hired as a guidance counselor.

Bostick went over some the programs that Piqua City Schools has been able to implement, including its Success Bound Program and alternative pathways for students.

With over half of the candidates new — and all of them running unopposed in their respective races — they came out to introduce themselves to the community.

“I’m here to learn,” said Steve Frazier, a new candidate running for other open seat on the Piqua Board of Education. Frazier will be filling the seat vacated by Frank Patrizio, who is not running for re-election. Frazier has been involved in PCS for 40 years through coaching, show choir, and other youth programs.

“I know a lot of kids. I know a lot of parents,” Frazier said, explaining he wanted to get more involved in education behind the scenes. “My top priority: better education.”

Thomas Fogt, who is running unopposed for the first ward commissioner seat on the Piqua City Commission, is the Facilities and Transportation Program Manager at Council on Rural Services and retired from the U.S. military.

“I want to make an impact,” said Fogt, who is also a member of the Piqua Park Board and previous attendee in the Piqua Government Academy. Fogt will be filling the seat of John Martin, who is not seek re-election.

Cindy Pearson, who is running unopposed for the second ward commissioner seat, worked at Piqua Family Practice and Premier in Physician Billing for 32 years and now works part-time at the YWCA. Pearson is also a graduate of the Piqua Government Academy and is a sitting member of the Piqua Planning Commission. Pearson will be filling the seat of Bill Vogt, who is not seeking re-election.

Kathryn “Kazy” Hinds, who is currently the mayor and the fifth ward commissioner, is seeking re-election to her seat on the commission. Residents will also be voting for Hinds’ seat on the commission, but not her position as mayor. Due to a city charter amendment approved by over 60 percent of voters in 2016 and first implemented in 2018, the commission will elect one of the sitting commissioners as mayor during its first meeting in January and will so again in two years.

On Tuesday evening, Hinds said she has enjoyed her time on the commission. While she was not born and raised in Piqua, she has lived in Piqua for over 10 years, saying, “I know a good place when I find it.”

Hinds went over her position on the commission and as mayor, saying how she has supported city staff and the city manager, as well as connected with the community through her “Eye on Piqua” series on the Indian Nation Station,

Dr. Nancy Luce, superintendent of the Upper Valley Career Center, was present to speak about the new 1.5-mill operating levy the school is seeking. The levy will generate just under $3.8 million per year at a monthly cost to taxpayers of $4.38 per $100,000 of assessed value on their property.

Luce said UVCC has not asked for additional funds since 2000, going over factors that have contributed to this current levy request, including a 25 percent increase in enrollment on the main campus and a 17 percent increase in satellite programs within the past 10 years.

“The demand for trained employers has been called a crisis,” Luce said. She discussed how the school will be able to add new programs and expand existing programs to provide “high-quality” training.

Audience submits questions

The question and answer portion of the night kicked off with a question about the recent state grade card for PCS, which was a D.

“I’m new to this,” Frazier said. “I will be on top of it.”

“I don’t think any of us are satisfied with it,” Bostick said. He said the district is working on curriculum with staff, going over state standards, best practices, and professional development options. He also added the state does not factor students’ growth into the state testing.

Following that, the city commission candidates were asked about the movement for more open dialogue with the city of Piqua and Positively Promoting Piqua, and the anonymous person alleged PPP referred to people in the movement as “disaffected” and “negative.”

“Everybody has a right to their voice and their opinion,” Hinds said. Hinds went on to say it is not easy, but they have “to make decisions for the betterment of your community” and sometimes it may not be what everybody wants.

“It is important to listen and hear from our citizens,” Hinds said.

Fogt encouraged people to bring solutions when speaking to the commission about issues or the commission will have to “make a decision ourselves.”

The audience also asked the city’s Public Works Department, asking the candidates if they would support separate parks and street departments.

“It’s hard to make a snap decision,” Hinds said. “I need to do my homework.” Hinds noted that separating the departments would cause budgetary concerns as the city would need to hire a new department head.

“I know it’s a problem,” said Pearson, who also did not take a position. “It will affect the budget.” Fogt also did not a position on that question.

The audience then asked the school board candidates about their positions on the long-term vision of centralizing the athletic fields near the high school.

Bostick said the district is at the “very earliest stages” of that vision.

“There’s nothing definite … We’re just looking at things,” Bostick said. He went on to add, “I think it would be nice to have everything on one campus.” He said the board would have to take other factors into consideration if the district follows through on centralizing the athletic fields, including the budget and continuing the district’s non-deficit spending.

Unopposed candidates speak on issues

By Sam Wildow

Miami Valley Today

Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com. ©2019 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.

Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com. ©2019 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.