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Mantua Center Expenses.pdf
All of the figures in the .pdf above are factual. They were acquired from the Clerk of Mantua Township and all expenses have documented receipts.

Nearly $500,000 spent on vacant Mantua school:
Township residents question expenses


By Diane Smith

Record-Courier staff writer

MANTUA TOWNSHIP — Nearly half a million dollars has been invested in the former Mantua Center School in the form of utility bills, loan payments and repairs, according to a recent analysis of township records.

Township residents recently made a public records request for all expenditures on the landmark since trustees purchased it in 2004. The figures show that trustees have spent $244,163 out of the original $257,448 loan. Another $250,659 has been spent out of the general fund, for a grand total of $494,823.

The expenditures over the years included rents and leases, repair and maintenance from the general fund, gas, electric and telephone, all needed to maintain the heating system, capital improvements and water and sewer expenses, including portable toilets and inspections, Fiscal Officer Marie Stehli said. Architecture bills and building permits also are included in the tally, but insurance expenses were not part of the tabulation.

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From the Portage County Ohio Tea Party

http://www.portagecountyteaparty.com/Mantua/candidates/mantua-township-trustee/john-festa-survey-answers.html


1. Why did you choose to run for this office?

I decided to run for Mantua Township Trustee so as to make a positive impact on our community. I plan to utilize all of my business skills, acquired knowledge, and real life experiences to maintain and preserve a way of life that we have come to know and love. At the same time I will diligently work alongside with the community and Township officials alike, to maintain and secure a brighter future for Mantua Township now and into the future. Including keeping our roads maintained, taking carespending the people’s money of our cemeteries and wisely.

2. Share your background information / qualifications for this office?

Over 35 years of competitive business experience. Managing employees and their benefits. Worked with the disabled, children and the elderly. Proficient in computer and communication systems, website design and maintenance. Knowledgeable in commercial real estate, property & equipment leases & insurance, business & sales contracts. Governmental and environmental compliance and regulations.

3. How have you prepared for the office you seek? I believe my extensive business career and real life experiences have prepared me for the Mantua Township Trustee position. Although I understand the job to be difficult and time consuming it is a job that I will hold up as extremely important. It will be a privilege to serve my community and I will do it in a fair and open manner.

4. How many meetings (twp / council / school board / etc) have you attended this year? Last year?

I have been attending Township Trustee meetings since I moved here over 4 years ago; I attend about 20 township meetings per year, I review the meeting minutes and participate in public comments. I have attended school board meetings and have attended class and received a certificate of completion for the Ohio Sunshine Law. 5. What time commitment on a weekly basis do you see yourself spending in this position?

Initially, a substantial amount of time would be needed to get familiarized with our governing process, along with the rules and regulations. Once the orientation period has been completed, I would have more information on what amount of hours are necessary to perform my duties, diligently. No matter what the circumstances are, I will devote as much time as necessary to maintain an effective office.

6. Name some significant accomplishments / events this government body has done?

The spring clean-up event is a worthwhile service that is provide by our township.

7. What are you goals to achieve if elected, or the critical issues you wish to address?

My first goal if elected is to bring our infrastructure up to acceptable levels. Our roads, ditches, culverts, Township owned buildings and one cemetery in particular, are in poor condition, and the people are complaining, and loudly I might add. An effective and practical course of action in vital to address the situation. For the roads, we need to develop a five year plan. First, complete an evaluation of our roadways to determine worst to best, give repair priority in that order and keep a maintenance rotation until every road is returned to acceptable condition. Then repeat.

Many of the people I have talked to say: The Trustees needs to stop spending Township money without full accountability. Although, I believe, major capital improvements have merit, we first need a business plan and an extensive cost analysis to determine overall feasibility within our budget, and the precise benefit the project would provide for the entire community.Let the people decide.

I have always been a proponent of open government and believe it to be extremely important. Every Township meeting needs to be run in a professional and orderly manner. Also, a Township website is essential to service the community. We have to keep ideals and communications flowing and afford information to residents in a timely manner. Most importantly, extend everyone equal opportunity to participate in our local governmental affairs and process.

8. What are your thoughts about beginning a website to promote citizen participation and transparency?

I feel very strongly about beginning and maintaining an Official Mantua Township sponsored web site and believe it is absolutely essential for the communities benefit. We need an open, fair and informative web site including full video, email and streaming capabilities. All Township events, every Trustee and zoning meeting, and all meeting minutes are all very important matters and should be posted on the web site and updated frequently. What are your thoughts on the township’s seven year ownership of Center School with $587,919.35 (as of 7/19/11) of public dollars being spent on this project?

Township Trustees must be fully accountable for spending Township money. Although some capital improvement projects have merit, we first need to develop a clear plan and do an extensive cost analysis to determine the overall feasibility factor and the exact benefit for the community. Every dollar must be accounted for and spent wisely. Each project, contract, and expenditure should be reviewed and revised where necessary. Spending money without a plan is not conducive to good government.

9. Will the Land Use Committee be reactivated or reformed since the re-writing of the zoning book is nearing completion (as required by the Land Use Plan adopted 1999?

I’m not sure about all of the details, but isn’t 12 years sufficient time to write or re-write a Land Use plan for the Township? If I could answer this question with a question? What is taking so long? What are your thoughts on the health care plan versus the cost? Should employee/elected officials contribute to the cost?

Good health care plans are very important for Township employees and administrators alike, for many reasons. We need to keep our employees and their families healthy and happy. Our people are an integral part of keeping our government running properly. However, do we really need a Cadillac Health Insurance Plan? Or should we have a plan that is more in line with those in our community? Our current policy has No Deductible, No Co-Pay and No Contributions. Also, included with our Cadillac Plan is Dental andEye Care. Again, without co-pay or deductible. It’s time to examine our current policies and see what can be done to afford our employees good, competitive benefits that are in line with the Health Plans most of us are accustomed to.

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From the League of Women Voters of Kent

http://kent.oh.lwvnet.org/


Here are some of the challenges that face our community and my recommendations for solving them.


People in the Township are hurting financially, inflation is expected to rise and taxes are burdensome. The economic downturn along with dwindling assistance from Columbus is quickly becoming a major concern. These contributing factors are having an adverse effect on our way of life and dictating how we must to do business in the future. Our roads are deteriorating, services are inadequate, landmark buildings are in disrepair and residents are complaining, loudly.

My recommendations are as follows, the time to act is now. Every dollar must be accounted for and spent wisely. Each project, contract, and expenditure should be reviewed and revised where necessary. Capital improvements and services need long term planning and complex cost analysis to minimize mistakes. Most importantly, promote an open and transparent relationship between government and residents and provide adequate services that everyone wants and needs, fair and equitably. Remember, “There is no community without unity.”


My top priorities for the Township and how I would like to address them.


  • Our roads, ditches, and culverts are in poor condition, an effective course of action is vital. With the help of the community, we can develop a five year plan. First, complete an evaluation of our roadways to determine worst to best, give repair priority in that order and keep a maintenance rotation until every road is returned to acceptable condition. Then repeat.

  • Stop spending Township money without full accountability. Although major projects may have merit, we first need a business plan and an extensive cost analysis to determine overall feasibility and the precise benefit for the entire community. Let the residents decide.

  • Open government is important and meetings need to be run professionally and orderly. A Township website is essential to service the community, keep ideals and communications flowing and afford information to residents in a timely manner. Most importantly, extend everyone equal opportunity to participate in local government affairs.

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Mantua residents launch website

Information of all kinds available on township

By Paula Schleis

Beacon Journal staff writer

MANTUA TWP.: A group of residents in this rural Portage County township is demonstrating that government truly is of the people, by the people, for the people.

After two of three trustees rebuffed a request that the township maintain a website, more than 30 citizens opened their wallets and hired their own designer.

Brent Simon, a Mantua village resident contacted by the group to create and operate the Web page, said it cost about $600 to launch the site, http://www.mantuatwp.com.

The site features information, photos and maps of the township, a calendar of community events that organizations can update, links to local news, government phone numbers and minutes of trustees' meetings, and a public forum that volunteers moderate.

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Citizens unit creates website focusing on Mantua Twp.

By Diane Smith

Record-Courier staff writer

Some Mantua Township residents were tired of waiting for their township trustees to set up a website. After hearing that it might take years for a township website to be created,  they took the matter into their own hands.

The group of about 40 “concerned citizens” contacted Mantua resident Brent Simon. The residents paid the $550 costs for set-up themselves, and paid an additional $58.66 for the domain name.

Simon said the website — www.mantuatwp.com — has had about 106 visits in its first month. His company, GoRilla Productions, set up the website.

Simon said most visitors spend about four minutes on the site, with most visiting three or four pages.

“That’s really good, especially with no advertising,” he said.

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