Christine Matacic was re-elected to a third term as trustee in 2009 and serves as the board’s current president. She is also on the board of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance and the Butler County Regional Transit Authority, among others.
Why are you running?
Liberty Township has grown tremendously during my 12 years as a township trustee. We have experienced many successes, and through it all my desire to continue to do what is right for our community has been at the forefront. As we move forward, it is important to find a balance between growth and jobs for the long-term economic viability of our community.
What makes you the best candidate?
1. I am fiscally responsible. In 12 years, we have balanced our budget as well as developing a seven-year comprehensive budget forecast. This has resulted in a healthy reserve and an outstanding bond rating of Aa1 (Moody’s).
2. I work hard to balance growth and jobs. For example, in my time as a trustee, I have helped to attract and expand Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center and other medical facilities. I have also supported overlays to ensure sustainable long-term business facilities in appropriate locations and modifying the zoning code when appropriate for business growth.
3. I work hard to improve our roads for the future. I was an integral player in the establishment of the Liberty Way Interchange, which was locally funded and completed ahead of schedule and under budget. I have supported widening roadways and improving intersections, such as Butler Warren Road. Finally, I have worked tirelessly with regional transportation organizations like the Butler County Engineers Office, Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of governments, and Ohio Department of Transportation to prioritize and integrate future infrastructure development.
What specific services are you willing to cut?
This question assumes that the Township is in a financial bind– it is not. We are proactive not only with our state and federal legislators, but we also stay on top of the business environment in order to plan for the future. Any reduction in expenditures has taken place on a case-by-case basis to ensure that appropriate service levels continue for our residents and businesses.
What fees or taxes are you willing to raise in order to keep or expand government services?
I am not in favor of expanding government services beyond what I am charged with as a Liberty Township Trustee. Those services, as spelled out in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) are: maintaining the cemeteries; maintaining roads; providing safety services such as police and fire/EMS; establishing zoning; promoting parks and recreation; providing waste disposal, lighting, ditching and water runoff services; and erecting monuments. As we continue to grow, we will need to ensure that our levels of service match the needs of our residents and businesses. If and when we need to modify our level of safety services, we will go back to the voters for their approval.
What services are you willing to share with other governments?
In short, I am willing to share services with other government entities where it is good economically and logistically for our community without sacrificing the safety and security of our residents and businesses. Currently, we cooperate and coordinate activities with various entities:
- contract with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office for 24-7 police protection – this gives our community great protection without having to invest in tools we may need once or twice a year and is less expensive than having our own force.
- work cooperatively with the BCEO for roadway improvements – borrowing equipment and/or manpower when we do not have the expertise or equipment for those occasional jobs.
- coordinate group purchases with other communities in order to secure better pricing.
What are Liberty Township’s three largest hurdles and how would you work to overcome those issues?
Opportunities are presenting themselves with our location along the I-75 growth corridor. With that said, we need to maintain a balanced and business approach to the three hurdles facing Liberty Township that I view as vitally important and interdependent:
1. Budget – With the loss of some of our State revenues through legislation and an increased cost to provide services, along with our growth, we need to continue to look at our budget in a business-like manner. That means, forecasting, staying abreast of impactful legislation, evaluating all projects to insure positive financial returns, and looking for alternatives to minimize costs and maximizing results. We have done this during my tenure as a Liberty Township Trustee and it has provided us with a sound financial footing. But as we continue to grow, it is imperative that we stay the course and live within our means.
2. Job Growth – Attracting and retaining solid businesses that are here for the long-term is at the forefront of having a balanced community. With only 18% land dedicated to commercial development, it is extremely important to maximize this development. Liberty Township has morphed from a hub that featured Thriftway and McDonald’s to a growing Central Business District with regional healthcare facilities such as Cincinnati Children’s, Mercy and Christ Hospital medical centers and soon to break ground, Liberty Center. We are on the cusp of major business developments. I will continue to work with the business and other organizations in our region to bring about responsible and sustainable job growth.
3. Roads/Infrastructure – In order to move in, out, and through Liberty Township in a safe and effective manner, our roadways need to continually improve and, in some cases, expand. If there are too many obstacles or not enough access, businesses will go elsewhere. I will continue to work with our local, regional, state and national partners on planning, funding and prioritizing infrastructure improvements. One such priority would be evaluating the feasibility and adding an interchange along I-75 which could open up over 1,000 acres for commercial development.