By Ethan Charles
BEAVERCREEK — Two incumbents and three new candidates are seeking election onto the Beavercreek City Council. There are three open seats looking to be filled.
Incumbents Peter Bales and Charles Curran are seeking re-election and are joined on the ballot by Sunder Bhatla, David Litteral, Edward Maloof.
Bales brings 28 years of local government experience.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve Beavercreek for the last four years,” he said. “The future of Beavercreek is very important to me.”
According to Bales, the most pressing issues in Beavercreek are maintaining the 40-year-old infrastructure and bringing down property taxes for residents.
“My platform is pretty comprehensive,” he said. “The biggest thing I want to address is the growing problem we’ve got with property tax increases.”
Along with the maintenance of roads and waterways, Bales said he wants to put effort into the beautification of the city to attract more businesses and residents.
“A lot of people come to work in Beavercreek, and I think making a positive first impression is very important,” he said. “I also feel like maintaining our parks is a really big deal, and so we’ve got to focus our efforts and make sure they’re well maintained.”
Along with the last four years as a council member, Bales is a member of the Rotary Club, Greene Optimist Club and nonprofit organization Violence Free Futures, among others.
“I’m really super involved in the area,” he said. “I think that makes me an ideal candidate for re-election.”
Curran is seeking re-election after serving for 40 years in local politics.
“Beavercreek is a fantastic community,” he said. “It has all kinds of great things going for it.”
Curran said that if he were elected, he would want to continue to work together with other members of council and target a few major issues the city is facing.
“Working together is one of the things I want to continue to do,” Curran said. “No one person makes a change.”
The changes Curran hopes to make in the future are many, including a solution to Beavercreek’s property tax problem, infrastructure reinforcement and a more robust police force.
“I want to see a new building for the police,” he said. “What we have now, it’s not really built to be a police building.”
Curran also noted that while the city is allowed to hire five more officers, they have yet to take action. Curran wants to make sure Beavercreek has those five positions are filled.
Along with the other candidates, Curran also acknowledged the property tax problem in Beavercreek and wants to “look at the options again.”
Finally, Curran expressed interest in creating a more bike-friendly road system, and updating the road and stormwater infrastructure across the board.
“When we construct roads, we never put in any bike lanes,” said Curran. “It just makes for what I see as a dangerous situation.”
Curran said he hopes to see designated bike lanes in the future to create a safer road for everyone.
Bhatla is seeking election to City Council after his experience as board member for several other local organizations.
“I work at the Air Force base as an engineer and program manager, doing similar work at a larger scale,” said Bhatla. “I’m an engineer, I know the infrastructure very well, and I think I’ll be very useful to the city and community.”
One of the biggest issues for Bhatla is the comparatively high property tax in Beavercreek, a sentiment expressed by many candidates in this year’s election.
“We want to do something to give some relief,” he said. “The city of Beavercreek has higher property taxes compared to neighboring cities.”
According to Bhatla, the city relies on property taxes for more than 50 percent of its income, which is unlike cities around Beavercreek. Bhatla said he wants to focus on bringing this number down and looking into other ways the city can make money, as well as address some poor spending habits the city may have.
Bhatla said he also wants to focus on safety and cleanliness around the city. Making sure roads are clear and parks are clean is something important to Bhatla, who has lived in Beavercreek since 1986 and raised two children in the area.
Litteral, a retired law enforcement officer, said he has always been involved in public service.
“I’m not looking to change anything, I think Beavercreek City Council has done a great job,” said Litteral. “I want to continue working with the council, I think there’s some challenges coming up just like any other city.”
Litteral also pointed to the high property tax as an issue for Beavercreek, and said he wants to find a way to “alleviate some of the pressures that are put on citizens.”
Litteral said it’s all a matter of “finding a way to diversify our funding for the city.”
According to Litteral, the police station is another area he wants to focus on, potentially giving them a new building in a better location.
“I think it’s very important to maintain a strong law enforcement,” he said. “It’s served it’s purpose for many years, but it’s time for use to look for something new.”
On top of property tax and the police force, Litteral said infrastructure is a priority in Beavercreek.
“A lot of infrastructure for Beavercreek has been here for a long time,” he said. “Maintaining it is number one.”
Maloof is seeking election to bring what he believes is a new perspective, and to save the city resident’s money.
“I’m concerned about keeping Beavercreek affordable,” said Maloof. “I’m seeing what’s happening in Beavercreek, we’re having levies upon levies.”
Maloof said the levies are “getting out of hand,” and hopes to represent senior citizens with a fixed income, as well as young people looking for an affordable place to settle down.
“I’ve looked into the city tax, and the city income tax is not the way to go,” he said. “It’ll give the city money with no accountability.”
According to Maloof, the city should be more focused on looking for alternative sources of income that doesn’t require going to the taxpayer.
“We have a lot of malls and that’s generating sales tax, so why can’t we see if we can get a piece of that,” he said.
Regarding the new park, Maloof said he’s a “parks guy,” and not opposed to the idea, but said the city should look for alternate methods of funding before trying to pass a levy. Maloof suggested a sponsorship program to pay for part of the park.
“I’m just a person with a different perspective,” said Maloof. “I’ve lived in a lot of places and I see what high taxes do.”
Contact Ethan Charles at 937-502-4532.
Contact Ethan Charles at 937-502-4532.