I moved to Clearcreek Township with my wife and daughter in the winter of 2008 in order to be closer to the Cincinnati job market. We lived in a small house on my wife’s grandfather’s farm so that she could help take care of him in his later years, while my daughter enrolled to attend Springboro Schools the following year. I didn’t have much interest in local politics until the 2010 election when I started noticing Tea Party symbols appearing on all the yard signs.
Much of what I was reading appeared to demonize the government on all levels, but living property tax-free on grandpa’s farm left me feeling like an outsider without any skin in the game. We decided to move into the city of Springboro to not only earn the right to vote, but to experience first-hand how local government works in a small town. That same year, Kelly Kohls started touring on the FreedomWorks circuit, building the foundation for the Ohio School Board Legislative Council, and our small town lives started looking less like Springboro and more like the conversation on the national stage.
In subsequent years the situation seems to have gotten worse, once again reflecting the sharp divide our country is experiencing between rural and urban areas as the residents of Clearcreek Township grow increasingly weary of outsiders such as myself raising taxes to support local schools and services. You can only imagine the joy I experienced after reading Lori Kersher’s first priority to cut costs by sharing services between the city and the township. It was like witnessing the rift in our community being sealed with a solution that equally serves both sides of the divide.
As local conversations continue to be dominated by the blood sport in Washington, Lori’s vision of sharing services across a broader community follows in the footsteps of the Brookings Institute whose research shows that political power is becoming increasingly more centralized in metropolitan areas. In their book titled The Metropolitan Revolution, co-author Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradly point to Northeastern Ohio as an example of how the region is working together in order to turn their economic downturn around into an opportunity in the 3D printing industry.
Closer to home, another example of shared services can be seen in the “One Dayton” plan to consolidate county and city governments. While their goal is a bit more ambitious, to unite the entire Montgomery County region in order to become the second largest metropolitan area in Ohio, the options currently on the table range from simply sharing services to the aforementioned creation of a consolidated government. Regardless of the controversy surrounding such a plan, state and local representatives believe that sharing services will benefit the taxpayers in the long run.
Without knowing the specifics of which services the city and township would share in her plan, Lori Kersher has introduced a vision which includes a much broader and more inclusive vision of our community. To consider the relationship between Springboro and Clearcreek Township serves to not only bridge the gap, but to connect our city to the surrounding area. Ultimately I believe that this kind of leadership can help our community to grow and prosper in the Metropolitan Revolution, assuming of course that we can find a way to connect to the Dayton or Cincinnati metropolis.