Streetsboro mayoral candidates debate future of city

Trevor Ivan

The seven candidates running for mayor of Streetsboro agree things have to change for the city to remain a vital and attractive community.

However, most of their agreement ends there.

The candidates participated in a debate at Streetsboro High School last night.

All seven said they wanted to find ways to revitalize the city.

Drew Delgross wants to see the city run more efficiently so money can be used to fund new developments, such as a recreation center.

“The city should be run like a business,” Delgross said. “We can either cut expenses, which means taking away money from people’s programs, or we can bring in more businesses, which will increase our sales tax and provide us with money for new buildings.”

Tom Wagner, a Streetsboro councilman running for mayor, said it’s useless to talk specifics just yet. He said as mayor, he would adopt a realistic plan for development based on the city’s financial records, not one based on promises.

The candidates also had split opinions about tax breaks offered to businesses that open in Streetsboro. The goals of tax breaks is to make the community attractive to potential businesses.

Linda Kovacs, the city’s planning director, said tax breaks help generate revenue in the long run.

“Without tax (breaks), we wouldn’t have the tax base we have,” Kovacs said. “If you have a piece of land with cows grazing on it, it might be worth $600,000. However, if a business locates there and only pays 25 percent of the normal tax rate due to (a break), it’s still better for the city than the cows grazing on it.”

Wagner disagreed and said previous city councils catered too much to the business owners by providing them with high tax breaks. He said the mayor needs to “represent the citizens of Streetsboro, not the interests of the business owners. The city needs to lay down the rules that businesses need to abide by.”

Brett McClafferty, a 19-year-old recent graduate of Streetsboro High School, disagreed and said as mayor, he would negotiate with businesses and developers to entice them to locate in the city.

The candidates also addressed concerns that past mayors and city councils haven’t been productive due to political bickering. Each candidate promised to fix this problem if elected as mayor.

City Councilman Art Scott said he would work to restore trust in city government among the citizens.

Chuck Kocisko, another city councilman, said communication between council and the mayor could solve most of the problems.

Pete Buczkowski, also a city councilman, compared the mayor’s role to that of a movie director.

“The mayor is like a film director,” he said. “He lays it all out and above all, guides everyone together.”

During the primary on May 8, voters will narrow the list of seven to two candidates who will run in the November election. The winner of that race will become mayor.

Contact public affairs reporter Trevor Ivan at [email protected].