#childsafety | Voter Guide: Bellbrook City Council

Education: High school, plus two years college. Technical schools.

Current Employment: Retired from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Retired from Air Force Reserves. Self-employed real estate investor and housing rentals.

Community Involvement: Chamber of commerce, S.A.Y. Soccer, Cub Scouts. I am now serving on Bellbrook City Council. I am a member of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, City Council Safety Committee, City Council Service Committee. Member of the United States Global Initiative.

Why are you seeking elected office? I am seeking reelection to continue to serve and listen to all of our citizens. I will be a driving force to keep Bellbrook thriving and be the best place to live and raise a family. The people that live in Bellbrook want to live in a low crime, safe environment, have services respond when called, safe roads and the snow plowed. Our citizens are busy raising families, working and enjoying their homes. If I am reelected I will strive for to maintain our way of life.

Why should voters elect you? I have notable accomplishments over the past eight years. I served as committee chairman of the safety committee (Police and Fire/EMS) and the Service Committee. I worked hard to ensure these departments are performing at the level our citizens expect. This can only happen with proactive council members striving to maintain our services. I will serve all of our citizens. I have lived in the Old Village for 38 years. I know the Old Village, and want to preserve the small town feel and make the Old Village more business friendly.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? Support police, fire, service departments, and zoning. Work on updating planning and zoning with citizen input to help our citizens and business community have stable expectations. The third thing is to ensure we have resources to maintain our level of services without a city income tax. We are having storm water issues, flash floods more often due to the increase of heavy rainfall events. Little Sugarcreek RD needs to be assessed and managed because of some settling. Bring more life to the Old Village.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? Police, fire, service and zoning are our mainstay services. Citizens depend on when those services are needed. I will work to ensure these departments are adequately funded, and trained to ensure we have the best. The next thing is I will work to ensure we have adequate ways to fund our services. We need to inspect and list known storm water problem areas. Storm water drainage that comes into our city from the other side of our borders need to be reassessed to ensure retention systems are being maintained up stream. We also need to assess and continue to repair existing storm water systems. A summer hire program is an option to clean debris from inaccessible areas of streams and drainage grates. We are well on our way to improving the Old Village walkability and fixing our infrastructure downtown to promote business growth. The comprehensive plan is in place. We have a thriving business community and plenty of parking. With future improvements it will be even better. Improvements such as sidewalks, crosswalks and some utility repairs have been a need for awhile for safety and it will benefit aesthetics.

Anything else? Jackie and I moved to Bellbrook 38 years ago, raised three kids that graduated from Bellbrook High School. We have enjoyed and continue to enjoy a safe community with affordable services and a small town feel. We have lived in the Old Village most of those years. We had lived here about two years, and one day one our neighbors asked us what we thought of our wonderful Little Village. We said we liked it here. That question lingered in my head, and I realized we really do live in a unique place. That generation is gone and we took their place. We would like to preserve the Old Village and pass on this wonderful town so people can enjoy it here like we do. Our town is desirable because of our proud citizens. I am asking for your vote on Nov 2. Thank you for listening and letfs get to work.

Meredith Brinegar

Credit: Cory Weaver

City: Bellbrook

Education: Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Miami University; B.S. in psychology from Ohio State University

Current Employment: Meredith Glick Brinegar, Ph.D. LLC (self-employed)

Community Involvement: Chair of city of Bellbrook Board of Zoning Appeals and Property Review Commission, Girl Scout leader, co-chair of School Committee for Sugarcreek Cares, Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools volunteer in schools and for levy committee, Kettering Civic Band, Ohio Psychological Association, founder of Dayton Area Eating Disorder Provider Consultation Group.

Why are you seeking elected office? Cities don’t run themselves. It’s easy to forget this when our streets are regularly paved, snow is quickly removed, and we have competent and friendly police and fire service. Bellbrook does many things well and I want to give back to the city that has served me. I would also like to help our city move closer to ideals for community belonging and inclusion, economic prosperity, and protecting our natural world. As a psychologist who talks daily about people’s struggles with money, family and belonging, I see how our physical and mental health is connected to our environments. My job as a psychologist isn’t to help people become numb and adapt to dysfunctions in the world; part of my job is to help change our environments. I’d like to think I do this in informal ways all the time. I am running for city council to help shape my community in a more formal way.

Why should voters elect you? I know the power of listening and empathy. It’s been said that doing the job of a psychologist is the closest a person can come to experiencing multiple lives in a single lifetime. I get the privilege of hearing people’s inner-most thoughts and struggles. People who are often very different from me. And when you hear stories from all walks of life, you understand why others may see the world differently than you. I do my best to honor and respect our differences, while also seeing our shared humanity. I plan to listen to constituents and council members, even when we disagree. Especially then. I will work to find common ground to create meaningful solutions to our city’s problems. It’s been said the opposite of division isn’t unity, but collaboration. I am also a social scientist. I have published more than a dozen peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and have presented at regional, national and international conferences. I can think critically, communicate effectively, and will use science, when applicable, to guide my decisions. Finally, I have leadership experience within the city. I am the current chair of the Bellbrook Board of Zoning Appeals and Property Review Commission. Our board is highly functional; we pride ourselves on communicating the rationale behind our decisions. We don’t always agree, but we are open and respectful. It’s been a great opportunity to learn more about how the city functions on a day-to-day basis and to feel that I’m contributing.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? 1. Improving community relations. Our community has endured significant strife related to school funding in the last two years. Neighbors are either afraid to talk to each other, or exchange heated words online. If you add on conflict related to race relations and COVID masks, it sometimes feels as if the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek community is being torn apart. I propose that we make a collective effort to heal from this division. 2. Caring for our roads and rivers. From transportation to recreation to safe drinking water, our roads and rivers impact the health and well-being of all residents. Unfortunately, those rivers and roads have been threatened by increasingly severe weather. Bellbrook needs to take a proactive approach to this change. 100-year-storms are becoming more frequent. Bellbrook has had two major weather-related problems with our roads in the last two years: the erosion of a major artery and the complete washing out of a bridge. Further, many residents have experienced flooding of homes, yards, and entrances to neighborhoods. Flooding causes damage to homes and property and increases pollution in our rivers and streams. 3. Safe walkways. Residents have repeatedly expressed a desire for a walkable community This need has become more pressing with a significant reduction in school busing. We need safer pathways to schools since they weren’t built as neighborhood schools.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? 1. Create a Community Culture & Relations Board. It would be composed of citizen-volunteers who would work to increase civic engagement and inclusion of all citizens. This board could adopt a community dialogue program, where we learn how to have difficult conversations with each other. We could partner with our library to check out a person, instead of a book, to learn their life story in 30 minutes. We could also promote block parties. We are less likely to villainize people when we know their stories. 2. To care for our roads and rivers, we should: Offer training to council and board members on environmentally-friendly economic development and zoning; Upgrade stormwater codes and infrastructure, an allowed use of the American Rescue Plan) funds; Collaborate with local environmental groups like the Little Miami Watershed Network and the Miami Conservancy District; Preserve green space, prioritize native plants, require developers to replace trees and implement filter strips along waterways; Adopt a plan for Little Sugarcreek Road that offers long-term stabilization from erosion and includes sidewalks, obtaining funding through sources like Ohio Public Works Commission and the pending Bipartisan Infrastructure Act; Partner with Power a Clean Future Ohio, whose mission is to help small cities adopt sustainable practices. The consultation is free and they help cities find funding sources to implement solutions. 3. Crosswalks with signage should be placed at popular crossings downtown and near schools. ODOT’s Alternative Transportation Program (which includes safe routes to school) could be a funding source.

Anything else? I have been married for 16 years and have a daughter who attends Bellbrook Middle School. I am a small business owner; I have a psychology practice in Centerville. My family enjoys traveling and a favorite trip was to Yellowstone National Park and the Tetons. We also hike locally at Sugarcreek, Sweet Arrow and Glen Helen. I enjoy running, not to set records, but as a meditative practice. When my first half-marathon was canceled due to COVID, I created a course in Bellbrook that started at my house and ended at Dot’s Market. It was special to have so many friends and neighbors cheer me on. I’m an avid reader and life-long learner. I prefer nonfiction, but my book club challenges me to read fiction (even fantasy on occasion). I play the French horn in the Kettering Civic Band and view music as a bridge between people and cultures. I try to live by Walt Whitman’s advice to “be curious, not judgmental” and Nietzsche’s words, “Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

Katherine R. Cyphers


City: Bellbrook

Education: B.S. in management/finance at Park University

Current Employment: Sehlke Consulting LLC

Community Involvement: Bellbrook Garden Club; National Wildlife Association member; American Planning Association, Ohio Chapter; American Society of Military Comptrollers; League of Women Voters of Ohio; American Veterans (AMVETS) life member; Woman Marine Association lifetime member; Moose International, Dayton, Ohio, member; parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi

Why are you seeking elected office? I want to keep Bellbrook a great place to live. I’ve been in federal public service for almost 30 years, I’d like to be able to contribute to the community I live in and keep it a great place to live. I see a few deficiencies that need to be corrected. Stormwater management system and safety hazards need to be corrected to ensure we maintain a great quality of life. I believe my background and experience would steer us in the direction of resolving the issues we face in Bellbrook. City motto is “Small Town Friendly” – I’d like to keep it that way.

Why should voters elect you? My core values and traits include fiscal responsibility, integrity, dependability and loyalty. As a Certified Defense Financial Manager with decades of public service, I provide expert knowledge in government budgets, accounting and audit that will ensure our resources are effectively utilized and safeguarded from waste. I believe fiscal resources, as well as natural resources, should be safeguarded from waste or abuse. I am honest and truthful with a strong sense of duty. I possess initiative to take proactive actions to handle issues. I have a reputation of being dependable and can be relied upon to be fair and consistent when performing duties expected of the council and to the best of my ability. I am loyal to my family, our country and our community. I will continue to put those in the forefront.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? Safeguard fiscal and natural resources. Stormwater management system deficiencies need to be diagnosed with a corrective action plan to correct those deficiencies to prevent residential flooding, road slippages, bridge collapses, and additional erosion while also striving to preserve and protect our limited green-space. Safety is an important aspect to our quality of life. Identify deficient and hazardous sidewalks, crosswalks and bike paths. Formulate corrective action plan to correct deficiencies and remove hazards so additional accidents do not occur. For example: A bike path should not send a child to the hospital because he encountered a storm ditch on the hill of a paved bike path. This must be corrected. Pedestrians should not be dodging traffic to get to schools and library. Install and upgrade accessible routes and provide accommodations that adhere to standards of Americans with Disabilities Act requirements to afford opportunities for inclusion for those with disabilities.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? Coordinate with local communities to determine how their economic development decisions and actions impact our city stormwater system and natural resources. Develop a collaborative approach to address potential negative impacts. Develop community awareness of individual opportunities to protect our natural resources and green space through conservation initiatives such as NWF Community Wildlife Habitats. Review current stormwater management system in the entire city; identify areas with largest deficiencies causing the most burden to residents; formulate a corrective action plan with milestones for completion; and ensure the plan is executed efficiently and effectively to correct the problem areas. That might mean shifting funding proprieties within current budget from funding nice-to-haves to funding essential city services like stormwater management upgrades. Identify deficient and hazardous sidewalks, crosswalks and bike paths throughout the entire city and do not limit the focus to Downtown only. Formulate corrective action plan to correct citywide deficiencies and remove hazards so additional accidents do not occur throughout the entire city. Determine if city has an ADA coordinator, if not, then train and appoint one immediately to ensure everyone can have access throughout the city. Then this person will then determine if there are areas that need attention, formulate a plan to correct, and implement the corrective action plan.

Anything else? Retired United States Marine; federal government service in accounting, finance, budget and audit; Certified Defense Financial Manager; Department of Defense Financial Manager Certification, Highest Level 3; currently supporting the Department of Navy and Marine Corps as an expert in finance, budget and audits; married and parent of four children; husband also has 25+ years of public service while a Marine and now a chief criminal investigator with the U.S. Marshals Service. Two children attend Ohio State University. Two daughters attending local schools, participating in Girl Scouts, lacrosse, soccer, Lions softball, band, swim team and dance academy.

Brady Harding


City: Bellbrook

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Miami University School of Architecture

Current Employment: Director of Architecture – CESO

Community Involvement: Member Bellbrook Planning Board; past member Bellbrook Old Village Review Board; board member Access Center for Independent Living; past role as city of Bellbrook architectural adviser; member of American Institute of Architects; member of National Council of Architectural Registration Boards

Why are you seeking elected office? I feel it is important to serve your community in all ways possible. I have been on numerous boards and positions with the city and feel my talents and skillsets would best be served in the position of city council.

Why should voters elect you? I truly feel I am the most qualified person for this position. I have been a resident for over 25 years now ,and my wife and I have raised two children through the school district. Professionally, I am an architect licensed in 46 states where my role is to be a problem solver. Clients come to me with a need but often do not fully understand what the problems are that they are trying to solve. My job is to listen, dissect the issues at hand and help people understand what the best path is to solve their problems in the most cost efficient manner. I believe my experience will help drive the community to a higher level.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? 1. Downtown revitalization efforts 2. Financial stability of the city 3. Volunteer programs and promotion of such.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? 1. Downtown: a. Combine the information from the Comprehensive Development Plan, the Revitalization Study and the Streetscape Design into one cohesive concept with specific items to address on a timeline. b. Increase parking and improve identification of existing parking areas. c. Address accessibility throughout the downtown. d. Work with local and regional artists to add some color and flair to the downtown with art and murals that are compatible with the city’s culture and history. 2. Financial Stability: Improve our ability to apply for and achieve state and federal grants to ensure our basic infrastructure is maintained. An income tax is not an option. 3. Volunteers: Promote more grass root volunteer efforts by citizens to help out our fellow citizens whenever and wherever possible. Work to identify existing volunteer programs and find ways to help advertise and recognize these as well.

Anything else? I want to be known for being accessible to everyone. If you have a concern, I want to know. Problems only get resolved when they are brought to everyone’s attention.

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