Four city residents will square off on Nov. 7 for the 3rd Ward seat on Delaware City Council.
The four candidates include incumbent Jim Browning and three challengers: Ben Kelly, George Mantzoros, and George McNab.
A Delaware resident for 14 years, Browning is married and has two sons. A 1990 graduate of The Ohio State University, Browning works as a financial advisor.
Browning said he should be re-elected to office because he enjoys putting in the work it takes to be on city council.
“I believe if you want something good, you have to put in the work,” he said. “I believe we have a good city, and I will work to make it even better.”
Infrastructure, Browning said, is one of the most pressing issues facing the city.
“Our roads need help, and we need to find a way to fund the program or they will get worse,” he said. “The other part of infrastructure that goes unseen is securing our water source and reserves. Our water system is good for now, but will need scaled up over the next 10 to 20 years.”
Browning added council is and will continue to examine city roadways, and he is in favor of addressing the issue via a “temporary levy.”
“Roads don’t go away,” he said. “They do need maintained.”
As for the water infrastructure, Browning said, the city needs to work with experts in the field to create a long-term plan that can be instituted as soon as possible.
A graduate of Wright State University, Kelly serves as a senior bioinformatics scientist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He and his wife, Stephanie, have two children and have lived in Delaware for four years.
Kelly said being able to help impact the lives of children through his day job has led him to seek other opportunities to make a difference in society, which is why he is pursuing a position in local government.
“I want an opportunity to show both current and prospective residents and businesses how fortunate we are to have found such a great place to work and raise our families,” he said.
A major issue Kelly would like to address, if elected, is road improvement and maintenance.
“With the current budget, there isn’t enough money allocated to maintain the roads to an acceptable level nor is there enough to meet the requirements necessary to make progress on larger road improvement projects like The Point,” he said.
While Kelly said he would consider a short-term levy if no other options are available, he is against new, permanent taxes for road infrastructure.
“My strong preference would be to figure out a solution that doesn’t involve raising taxes on the citizens of Delaware,” he said. “If the solution is to cut back on another program or service in favor of our roads, then I need to hear from residents what their thoughts are and whether they are comfortable with those adjustments.”
Mantzoros, who holds a MBA from Durham University in England, has called the 3rd Ward in Delaware home for nearly a decade.
A real estate broker, Mantzoros owns and operates his own brokerage in Delaware called Pagam Properties Realty.
A member of the Delaware Planning Commission and Downtown Parking Advisory Committee, Mantzoros said if he is elected to council, he would “work diligently and ethically for all the residents of the 3rd Ward, including the residents of the City of Delaware, and continue to support and strive to promote sustainable growth throughout the city.”
Traffic congestion on the city’s east side, specifically near The Point on William Street and Central Avenue, is one issue Mantzoros said needs to be addressed one way or another.
“The need to remove this choke point and to provide greater ease of traffic flow to and from Interstate 71 and through the City of Delaware is a paramount priority,” he said.
Fixing the issue, Mantzoros added, will require a “massive financial commitment,” and the city needs to continue to collaborate with the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the state, and the county to secure any and all funding available.
“Through this effort, the City of Delaware will be able to solve this congestion problem within the next several years.”
A graduate of The Ohio State University, McNab is a legislative and lean liaison with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. He is currently working on his MBA at Ohio Dominican University.
McNab and his wife, Emily, have lived in Delaware for two years and are parents to a young son.
When it comes to city legislative matters, McNab said, he is running for council to ensure the voices of residents in the 3rd Ward are heard.
Having worked in both the Ohio legislature and in an executive cabinet agency, McNab said, “I know the questions to ask, and I know how to get things done.”
He added one of the main issues he would focus on, if elected, is responsible economic development.
“Delaware County is the second fastest growing county by population in Ohio, which puts the City of Delaware in a prime position financially and strategically to grow with businesses, residents, and visitors,” McNab said. “The City of Delaware must make smart decisions on its economic development opportunities.
“In order to grow and develop as a city, I believe that Delaware needs to continue to seize opportunities to engage new businesses and housing developments. This will allow the city to wisely generate needed revenues, while holding down taxes on existing businesses and citizens,” he added.