Business and Public Safety at the Vanguard of St. Clair Administrator Re-election Efforts | News, Sports, Jobs
East Liverpool – For the sixth time, a man from the township of St. Clair will seek to retain his seat as the township administrator.
Bob Swickard currently holds two of the three township administrator seats up for grabs in the November general election. Doug Blaner hopes to defeat one of the two incumbents, who are Swickard and his colleague James Sabatini II.
Originally appointed to HQ in July 2000, when Bob Wines retired, Swickard had owned Sam’s Subs and More for 19 years and was heavily involved in the economic development of the Calcutta region.
“Economic development was my strong point” he explained, recounting how, as director of the St. Clair Township Blue Ribbon Committee, he was involved in the expansion of Highway 170 and the creation of McGuffey Drive as well as other projects aimed at improving traffic in Calcutta.
“Community service was very important to my life and that of my wife Diana,” Swickard explained. Not only were the couple original members of the Township Travel and Tourism Council, but they were also heavily involved in the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, before it merged with that of East Liverpool to become the Chamber of Commerce. Southern Columbiana County Regional Trade,
Swickard is also co-founder of the Beaver Local High School Alumni Association, past president and currently treasurer, and was a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta for 25 years. “Giving back to the community is important, and I started this even before I became an administrator”, Swickard added.
Although he has been in the post for a long time, he recognizes that he still has a lot to do on behalf of his fellow citizens.
At present, St. Clair is the only township in Columbiana County without a road tax, and it becomes almost impossible to do so without the increased revenues. “We are dealing with 70 miles of road in 2021 and it is more and more difficult as the costs increase” he explained. A person’s house is their only personal investment, and being able to properly maintain the roads so that everyone can contribute to the township’s attractiveness for development.
The township will approach voters in November for this road tax, and they would like to see it passed.
Swickard also wants to see Columbia Drive, which is crucial for “Spider web” traffic flow out of the Route 170 state terminated. “Funding is the hardest part”, he said, adding that administrators needed around $ 2.4 million to complete all the way to McGuffey Drive.
St. Clair was one of the first townships to create its Tax Increase Funding District (TIF), which was created to pay for these public improvements.
According to the town’s website, “The construction of (McGuffey and Columbia) will … provide access to approximately 170 acres of (economic) development,” connecting two of Columbiana County’s busiest highways – State Route 170 and St. Clair Avenue.
The project is much needed.
Swickard explained that the Township owns the property from Columbia Drive and the number of cars on Route 170 is approximately 27,000 cars per day, although the Township of St. Clair only has a population of around 27,000. ‘approximately 8,000 inhabitants.
A 1982 graduate from Beaver Local High School, Swickard currently works as the Director of Ground Operations for Healthnet Paramedical Services in West Virginia. He believes his experience managing nine bases with 180 employees has been invaluable in his role overseeing the St. Clair Township Police Department.
He has also been called upon twice to become involved in state law: first to testify in the early 2000s on Bill 323, which balanced funding for local governments, and again, using his public safety experience, when he helped draft Bill 187 in 2015, which allows first responders to treat injured dogs or cats at the scene of emergencies before transferring them to veterinarian care .
State Representative Tim Ginter introduced the legislation after learning that if a Columbiana County police dog were exposed to a drug like fentanyl, the dog could be lost because emergency personnel did not not the power to save the dog’s life.
The bill grants immunities to professionals, providing animal care in good faith and not through willful misconduct, according to the Ohio House of Representatives website.
Swickard said, “Being a trustee is a commitment. You don’t punch a clock, he said. “Basically, you are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year” boasting that his listening and problem-solving skills have helped him in his elected position.
He praised the St. Clair Township team: “We have a good group of like-minded elected officials working towards the same end.”
Swickard and his wife Diana have two grown children.