PLAIN CITY -- Candidates in the upcoming municipal elections, set for Nov. 5, share a common thread of a love for the rural feel and traditions of this community, though they would continue to plan for growth.
Running for mayor are council members Bruce Higley and LaFray Kelley, while vying for two city council seats are Kristopher Carrigan, Natalie Hale, Michael McKean and the current mayor, Jay Jenkins.
Higley said the city's challenge is its growth and how to manage it. He said he moved to Plain City 22 years ago and knows the city has good employees, good equipment and good services.
If he becomes mayor, he said, he wants to keep the city financially sound with no debt.
"The city is experiencing growing pains, but I would like to keep up with the demands of growth while keeping the rural atmosphere," Higley said. "It should be a nice, quiet place where you can still ride your horse down the road."
Kelley said, if she were elected mayor, she would try to build a stronger sense of community. Her vision for the future of Plain City includes elected officials and staff working together to provide excellent services for residents at a reasonable price.
"As we continue to grow, this will be a challenge, but I know if we keep a tight watch on the budget, we can do it."
During her six years on the council, Kelley said, she acquired more than $500,000 in grants and donations that contributed to Pioneer Park, the Town Square bowery, the Lee Olson Ball Park diamonds and arena improvements.
The grants have also contributed to concerts and arts festivals. Kelley has also planned Founders Day and helped to bring the circus to Plain City.
Kelley said she also organized the town cleanup day, writes the city newsletter and created advisory committees for both the parks and the arts.
Carrigan said he would like to see more economic growth. Currently, he said, the only growth is in the housing area, and the city has only one gas station.
He said he gets constant feedback about what people want from their communities. Of the council meetings, he said, "I've been there quite a few times, and they need new opinions."
Carrigan, who did not provide a photo to the Standard-Examiner for this article, said the definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over, each time expecting a different result -- and that is what has been happening in Plain City.
Hale said she would like to keep Plain City as it is, a small town. She said the city should remain rural and maintain its traditions while allowing for some guided growth.
She plans to work with committees to review city ordinances and take any concerns to the city council. She also said positive plans need to be made for the old, run-down Plain City elementary school.
McKean said his vision for the city's future would involve continued growth in recreation and wellness for residents. He has helped coach sports and rodeo for the past six years.
He said he would like to be part of shaping future policy and assist in decision-making while helping plan controlled growth. He said the way the city budgets and handles finances is crucial, and as the senior vice president of a global bank, he is well qualified to assist in this area.
"I feel the role of a councilman is to listen to needs of the residents and address those needs," McKean said.
Jenkins said he would like to see continued prosperity in Plain City, but wants to hold tax rates down and limit government.
If he earns a council seat, he said, he would like to work with the new mayor on the city sewer project, which is only 75 percent complete.
"It is a major project, and I want to see it completed."