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Ex-Falls mayor seeks to retain council seat

NEWTON FALLS — Incumbent Lyle Waddell and Tesa Spletzer are vying for the 3rd Ward city council seat.

Waddell has spent some time in the council chambers as mayor and most recently as the 3rd Ward councilman following his resignation as mayor.

There was a debate as to whether the move to step down as mayor and assume the council position broke the council’s term limits as outlined by the village’s charter. But the Trumbull County Board of Elections determined Waddell could make the move.

This issue fueled the fire for a run by Spletzer, who cites the need for even more transparency in local government.

A vacancy was created when Mark Stimpert, the former 3rd Ward councilman, left the seat to become the village’s zoning director. Waddell then resigned as mayor, and council appointed him to the seat.

Spletzer, former Mayor Pat Layshock and Edward Carr filed challenges on term limits for Waddell, but they ultimately were dismissed, leading to the retention of Waddell.

A controversial topic in Newton Falls is a perceived “silencing” of the community. For a while this year, council voted to forgo the usual public comments segment of the meetings, much to the chagrin of the public.

“It’s important to allow residents (to be involved with) what we’re doing and keep the public informed, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do it,” Waddell said. “People need to conduct themselves properly.”

At a meeting Oct. 5, the public comments section of the meeting was reinstated.

Spletzer said a large reason for her candidacy is to bring transparency to government, citing recent events. Another issue she said she believes is important is legislation being passed by council as emergencies.

“If I get into council, there will be (none) unless it is a true emergency,” Spletzer said. “I believe these ’emergencies’ are fabricated and I will see an end to that.”

She said she would like to give a voice to people at the meetings.

Waddell said he has his sights set on bringing new businesses to the village, and continuing to build and create networking. Both of these will lead to increasing the quality of life for residents, he said. One way of doing this, Waddell said, is by bringing more people into the village.

“We need to take advantage of new housing in the city to bring more residents into the community,” Waddell said.

Previously, Waddell said he is most proud of playing a part of the annexation of 440 acres from Braceville Township, adding $100,000 to the village’s budget.

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