Laila Riaz

Everyone is Family


Brian Baker will begin his second full term if he wins the election for township trustee

Sarah M. Penix / For The Post

Brian Baker is running for Athens Township Trustee for the third time in the Nov. 7 elections and this time, he wants to maintain the township’s activities at no extra cost to residents.


During his engineering career, he worked at TS Trim Industries Inc., an automobile parts manufacturing plant, before joining the Athens County Engineer’s Office in 2004. Baker drove past the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) State Garage every single day, and that sparked his interest in engineering on a more local level, he said.


“I’m telling you, I’ve never seen something so organized and thought-out as that type of work. ... And I took that with me to the county, and then from the county, this is where I’m at now,” he said. “It’s just interesting to try to make things work.”


When Baker started at the county level, he traveled around to the different townships. He said he saw things he thought he could improve at the township level, ranging from snow removal to maintenance of bridges and roads.


“I treat everybody like they’re my family. You want to treat your family the best you can and give them everything they can handle and deserve, and that’s how I treat the residents of Athens Township."– Brian Baker

“The township has a much smaller scale (than the county),” Baker said. “I saw where they were struggling with some things and thought I could bring that from the county to the township.”


Baker worked in the county for three years before attending his first township trustee meeting. He ran for a trustee position and lost in 2012, but he continued going to meetings.


“I was interested in how the money was spent and how things work,” he said. “Even if I’m not in, I want to know where tax dollars are going.”


A trustee retired with time left in his term, and Baker was appointed. Since then, his goal has been to provide residents with the same level of service without extra cost.


Baker said since the state cut a tax that went toward the township, trustees will be “fighting for funding” because the cost of maintaining the township is expensive, he said. For example, the township buys road salt at $50 to $100 per ton and goes through 600 tons during the winter.


Baker said people don’t realize how quickly trustees have to spend large amounts of money to maintain the township.


“I want the same service that the people expect to continue, so we’re going to have to do more basically with less, so my focus is to keep what the citizens want and expect at no extra cost, because I don’t wanna add a tax levy,” he said. “I don’t want to do those types of things.”


Baker said other candidates are suggesting that the township should do more, but he thinks those goals are not necessary or feasible, including the addition of bike lanes and a police force in The Plains. Baker said “not one” of the roads in the township are wide enough or safe enough for bike lanes and Athens County Sheriff’s deputies are in The Plains “all the time,” and he thinks people are happy with what they do.


“If the people came to me and said, ‘I want our own police force,’ that’s something we’re going to look into — but they’re also going to pay for it,” he said.


Additionally, Baker said he cares about the people in the township and wants to continue to serve.


“I treat everybody like they’re my family. You want to treat your family the best you can and give them everything they can handle and deserve, and that’s how I treat the residents of Athens Township,” Baker said. “I treat it like my kids are going to drive that road every day.”


Baker is one of three candidates for Athens Township Trustee and is running against Eddie Smith and Steven H. Pierson.

Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

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