After 27 years of serving Perkins Township, retiring Trustee Tom Pascoe seems a bit ambivalent about waving goodbye.
Asked if he'll run for county commissioner, Pascoe answers, "As we speak, no."
So you might run, huh?
"Probably not," he clarifies. Pressed a bit more, he says, "I don't plan to run for anything."
Public service is a habit that's been hard to break for Pascoe, 63.
Retired from a family insurance agency, Pascoe was a volunteer fireman in Perkins for 13 years. He then spent six years on the township's Zoning Board of Appeals, a post that's less high-profile than township trustee but hardly free of pressure.
Typically, "one side or the other is mad," Pascoe explained.
Pascoe's two four-year terms as a trustee will end this month. He chose not to seek a third term and will be replaced by Jeff Ferrell, who won a three-way race.
Pascoe will continue serving on two state boards.
He is chairman of the Waterway Safety Council, which advises the chief of the Division of Watercraft in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He is a member of the Resource and Recreation Commission, which advises the ODNR director.
Pascoe said his proudest achievement during the past eight years is helping the township's fire department, police department and highway department come up to full strength in employees and acquire modern equipment.
Working with fire Chief Richard Myosky, the township's ISO rating has been lowered to 5. It once was as high as 9, Pascoe said. The improved rating translates directly into lower insurance rates for the township, he said.
Trustees also have worked to attract commercial businesses to U.S. 250 and other areas of the township. The new stores have been critical to helping Erie County bring in much-needed sales taxes, Pascoe said.
Trustees deserve some credit for the commercial growth because they have had a "Yes, we'd like to work with you" attitude toward developers, Pascoe said.
"You saw that last night," he said.
On Tuesday, trustees approved the final development plan for the new Lakecrest Town Center shopping center on U.S. 250 near Strub Road.
Zoning inspector Jim Lamb had informed the trustees the county engineer had raised last-minute objections to the plans. Trustees voted to approve the plan anyway, so the project could go forward but asked developers to work out final details with the county engineer and the Ohio Department of Transportation.