Christine Page looks forward to serving as new Perry Township trustee

Nov. 13—Christine Page won't need much of an orientation when she begins serving as a Perry Township trustee, starting Jan. 1.

After all, Page has worked alongside trustees for more than 30 years as the township's fiscal officer.

When Page responded to a News-Herald election questionnaire in September, she said she clearly understood the work of a trustee and the challenges involved in leading the township.

Page will now get a chance to put that knowledge to work, after being elected as trustee on Nov. 7.

She competed in the general election against Daniel McGarry and Mark Welch for a single trustee position.

Page received 1,357 votes; McGarry, 1,124; and Welch, 589, according to unofficial, final returns from the Lake County Elections Board.

She thanked all of the voters who supported her candidacy.

"I'm both amazed and so grateful for the opportunity to continue serving this community, but in a completely different capacity," she said in a Nov. 10 email.

Page will succeed longtime Trustee Rick Amos, who decided not to run for another four-year term.

Perry Township voters not only chose Page as trustee on Nov. 7, but also elected Stephanie Parker as the community's new fiscal officer. Parker ran unopposed for the position.

While new terms for trustees in Ohio begin Jan. 1, fiscal officers start their four-year terms on April 1 in the year after being elected.

Page will conclude her duties as fiscal officer when she becomes a trustee on Jan. 1. So the township was facing a potential three-month wait until Parker could begin duties as fiscal officer, under terms of the state law.

However, Perry Township government leaders already have considered how to close that gap, Page said.

"We anticipate that because training is in progress with the new fiscal officer, that she will be appointed as the interim fiscal officer (starting Jan. 1) until her term formally begins on April 1, 2024," Page said.

During the fall campaign, Page said that if she was elected trustee, she would:

—Continue supporting the township's senior citizens through ongoing support of the Perry Senior Center and its daily activities.

—Continue supporting a safe and sound community for the township's children to grow and flourish in, by continued engagement with the schools system and the Perry Area Joint Recreation District Board.

—Strive to find a way to help support the cost of township government without raising taxes.

She explained that achieving this goal requires "a process of following through to build a solid commercial tax base and continued conservative revenue and expenditure management."

Page, in the Nov. 10 email, said another issue that Perry Township trustees need to examine is the impact of the community's voters rejecting a five-year, 3.25-mill levy for police protection in the Nov. 7 election.

"I believe we need to look at what the denial of the trustees' levy request means to this community on a day-to-day basis and where we go from here," Page said. "We all should know exactly what we should expect after Jan. 1."

Trustees would have used the levy proceeds to continue a program launched in 2021 which assigns four deputies to fight crime and patrol roads in Perry Township. Trustees said this initiative has ensured that at least one deputy is nearly always on duty in the township.

When trustees signed a contract with the Lake County Sheriff's Office to obtain the enhanced patrolling by deputies, the township used federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay for its share of the program.

However, trustees emphasized that when the township's ARPA money ran out at the end of 2023, taxpayers would be asked to help keep the enhanced police protection in place.

If the Perry Township's police protection levy had passed, it would have raised $673,000 a year and cost taxpayers $114 annually per $100,000 in property valuation, according to the Lake County Auditor's Office.

As an incoming trustee, Page also said she has a great interest in the activities of the Perry Joint Economic Development District Board and the Perry Economic Development Council.

Page said she would like to learn more about what those groups are doing "to facilitate growth of Perry Township's tax base."