On March 20th, William Lutz spoke to the Troy Optimst Club at First Place Christian Center in Downtown Troy. Mr. Lutz was asked a series of questions in which he was asked to prepare a response. Here are the questions and answers that Mr. Lutz provided to the roughly 30 individuals in attendance.
What is the biggest challenge facing Troy?
As I have talked to residents it seems reasonable that the biggest challenge is the one I hear the most people talk about. It has become very evident that our city government has forgotten how to ask questions of those we are here to serve. Our community can do a much better job in engaging our citizens in our decision making processes and getting their input on how services are being delivered here in Troy. Basically, How many times has a city official come up to you and asked, “How are we doing?”
One of the goals I have as Mayor is to begin a program where we have customer satisfaction surveys on all our public services. In those areas we are doing well, we will continue to set the standard. In those areas we are weak, we will improve.
Describe Troy in one sentence
Our hometown is extremely generous.
My other job is running one of the largest faith-based nonprofits in our county, it is called New Path. And part of the work is leading two food pantries. Just yesterday, we had our annual “Donate and Skate” event at Hobart Arena. We had over 200 people show up and provide over 800 canned goods for our food pantries.
Troy has a history of generosity going back to Mr. Stouder who gave the first gift to start the Troy Foundation and I see that generosity today. So many times when we have friends or neighbors in need, our community responds.
I hope we never forget or take for granted how generous our community has been and will be.
What separates you from the other candidate in this race?
I will let the voters draw those distinctions between myself and the current Mayor. What I will say about myself is that I have a unique set of experiences that qualify me for this position.
I have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Affairs and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Wright State University. I also have earned certificates from other schools such as Indiana University and Texas A&M University.
I also have a work history that is based around serving others. After graduate school, I worked for the city as a code enforcement officer, I was the first township administrator of Bethel Township and worked closely with economic and community development in Piqua. For the past eight and a half years I have been leading one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Miami County.
What are your plans for the 3,279 job openings in Troy?
That’s quite a number, but let me ask you a question. Do you know many unemployed people there are in Miami County? Right now, there are 2,000. So we have a context in which there are way more jobs for the unemployed people in our county.
We need to drill down and find out why these folks are unemployed. It is easy to say this was all the government’s fault by giving out free money. Well, that explanation is too simplistic and those dollars have already been spent and the problems are still here.
If you talk to business owners, you will hear three consistent themes that are keeping people out of the workforce: transportation, child care and workforce housing.
Right now, the most important credential a potential employee needs isn’t so much a college degree, but it’s a valid driver’s license and a good running vehicle. For those potential employees that don’t have access to a car, we need to work and advocate for those organizations that are solving this program. One such program is the Rides to Work Program by Community Rides. We need leadership that will help advocate for these programs to residents and businesses.
We also need to understand that child care was a major problem before 2020 and the Pandemic just made it more severe. We do not have enough spots for youngsters in our local day care and child care centers and we do not have enough providers. Again, we need leadership that will help advocate and address this issue.
And this particular issue is difficult because this has a devastating effect on women since they are largely the ones that take themselves out of the workforce to stay home and raise kids. There are scores of talented and hard working women that aren’t in the workforce because the child care and daycare options simply do not exist.
The third issue is housing. Our community is reliant on single-family residential homes and this option isn’t always the housing product younger families or retiring seniors want for housing. We need to balance economic cost, consumer demand and our current zoning regulations to create more housing options that will make us more attractive to new residents coming to Troy.
Is Troy too reliant on restaurants and bars downtown?
I am surprised that this question is about bars and restaurants and not about gas stations. I would also say that if this was seven years ago, the topic wouldn’t be bars and restaurants, but probably beauty salons. Just a few years ago it seemed like every block had a beauty salon.
This is the natural dynamic of the local economy at work. Our role in government is to ensure that we create the environment for businesses to succeed and for small business owners to achieve their dreams.
If you have specific questions about our campaign, please feel free to contact Bill at email@example.com