Trustee incumbents should get nod in Vienna

Strong knowledge of township finances, resident issues and genuine concern for Vienna lead us to endorse incumbent Vienna Township Trustees Richard Dascenzo and Heidi Brown for re-election.

Dascenzo’s positions on township finances, his track record and, frankly, his attitude, impressed us. He understands a township trustee’s role is to answer questions about things like roads and zoning. He’s not afraid to return phone calls and face constituents, even when he knows he might face criticism or frustration.

We were pleased to hear Brown speak of goals that include cutting costs by sharing services with neighboring communities. She said the township is exploring shared purchases of things like a road-side mower and tractor with Fowler and Brookfield.

Dascenzo and Brown demonstrated that they understand the importance of compiling a rainy day fund and using regular revenue — not windfalls like the one gained several years ago through inheritance tax — to pay fixed expenses like employee payroll and to buy vehicles.

“You live life like a rock star and then the next day you are broke,” Dascenzo said when asked about his views on utilization of the $3.2 million the township gained in inheritance tax several years ago.

Brown described the township’s use of the inheritance windfall as “cautious.”

After using the funds for capital improvements to township buildings including the police station, much of the money has been socked away for future needs.

The township’s recent purchase of a new ambulance will be financed over five years and paid off using regular revenue generated through emergency service operations fees. That’s smart spending without burning up rainy day funds.

While we always question the wisdom of all small township’s choosing to operate their own services that could operate more efficiently through regionalized efforts, we don’t fault Dascenzo or Brown for allowing voters to make the decision. They have voted to fund around-the-clock services provided by full-time, albeit small, police, fire and EMT departments.

The two incumbents’ knowledge, record of cautious spending and accessibility make them the best choices for Vienna Township voters.

Challenger Robert L. Root III, a political newcomer, focused his goals on improved services that he believes can be expanded with new economic development. He called for a new comprehensive economic development plan. We agree this is a necessary tool for good planning and development of any community.

Root also questioned why the local airport struggles to maintain commercial air service and spoke of the need to expand utility lines and infrastructure in the township.

While his heart is in the right place, we felt Root’s knowledge of township business falls short. We urge him to attend trustee meetings and become more familiar with township finances, zoning issues and constituent concerns in order to make future runs for political office more logical.

We urge voters to avoid supporting candidate David Granelly due to his avoidance of public discussion of the issues.

Granelly did not attend a Vienna Township candidates night where voters had the opportunity to learn about candidates’ positions on issues. He also did not return a Tribune Chronicle candidate questionnaire, did not attend his scheduled editorial endorsement interview at the newspaper office and did not respond to numerous requests for an interview.

This type of inaccessibility as a candidate does not bode well for openness or accessibility if he were to win election.