LAFAYETTE TWP. — Two political newcomers, James Q. Aylsworth and Michael T. Costello, are challenging incumbent township trustees Lynda Bowers and Nanci Shanley in Tuesday’s election.
Bowers, 54, has served on the board of trustees for 16 years. Bowers is married and has one son and four grandchildren, all who live in Lafayette Township.
She is a broker for Allen and Hartzell Inc., and previously served as a city clerk and paralegal for the city of Wadsworth.
“When I was first elected, the township was in debt and our services were struggling to survive,” she said. During her term, she said she was able to pay off the debt without increasing taxes.
If elected, she said she hopes the township will continue to provide quality services without raising taxes.
“We’re one of the few townships that still operates without a road levy,” she said. “We haven’t had to ask for tax increases and we’ve continued to improve our services.”
Bowers was a founding board member of Leadership Medina County and served there 10 years, as well as on the board of the Hands Foundation. She also served on the executive board of the Medina County Emergency Management Agency and on the Medina County Planning Commission.
She is now on the board of directors for the Ohio Townships Association, and was elected to that position in 2010. Bower also serves as a precinct committeewoman for the Medina County Republicans.
Her campaign website is www.lyndabowerstrustee.com.
Nanci C. Shanley
Shanley, 60, is running for a second term. She retired in 2011 as practice manager for a veterinary hospital in Bath Township. After a career in marketing and business management for companies in the Greater Cleveland area, she was the first executive director of Windfall Industries, a nonprofit business with the mission of providing training and employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.
“I was motivated to run because I saw a need for someone on the board who could provide experience with finance and personnel practices and who would promote careful fiscal management,” she said.
She has been married 26 years and been a resident of Medina County since 1989.
Like other candidates, Shanley sees maintaining services without raising taxes as important.
“As the township has moved toward entering into shared services agreements with surrounding communities, I have been the advocate of ensuring that our taxpayers at no point are in the position that they are subsidizing the service we provide to others, and that the service we provide to our own residents does not suffer in the process,” she said.
Shanley is active with Main Street Medina, and is a former board member of the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She also served briefly on the zoning board of Harrisville Township.
Her campaign website is www.shanleytrustee.com.
James Q. Aylsworth
Aylsworth, 70, is married and has five children and seven grandchildren. He is a retired teacher of economics at Lakeland Community College and moved to the Medina County area in 2007. Aylsworth now sells jams and jellies at the Medina Farmers Market.
Though new to running for an elected office, Aylsworth served on the Lafayette Township Zoning Board for three years.
“I think I can do a good job taking care of the money,” he said. “Being retired, I have time to study the issues.”
He said he is troubled by some contention he sees on the current board.
“I’d like to be a voice of reason,” he said. “I’d like to be able to bring people together.”
An important issue in the township, he said, is making the technology park at the Medina County University Center more attractive for businesses to come in, but without a negative impact on the rural nature of the area.
“People in the neighborhood were promised years ago that they would hardly know it was even there,” he said.
In a volunteer capacity, Aylsworth serves on the promotions committee of Main Street Medina.
His campaign website is www.vote4jim.org.
Michael T. Costello
Costello, 39, another newcomer to politics, works in medical device sales and has served eight years as a firefighter and EMT for the Lafayette Township Fire Department.
If elected, he said he hopes to maintain the township’s level of fire and rescue services without raising taxes.
“The state funding is being cut to townships and municipalities,” he said.
He said he would examine where to make budget cuts that wouldn’t affect staffing levels to accomplish that goal. Costello also mentioned the Medina County University Center’s technology park.
“I’d like to see some companies move into the tech park that are going to be good neighbors, that will meet the concerns of the residents,” he said.
Costello said he was running because he was critical of Trustee Nanci Shanley for missing 18 meetings in four years.
“In my opinion, it’s poor form,” he said. “It’s tough to represent residents if you’re not at meetings.
Shanley said she had legitimate reasons to miss meetings, and those 18 were out of nearly 200 meetings.
“I had a full-time job the first two years of my term, which precluded my ability to attend daytime special meetings,” she said. “Many of these were minor meetings, which lasted only a few minutes and tended to be for housekeeping purposes such as quick approvals.”
His campaign website is www.votecostello.com.
Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.