Baxter Turain

A Veteran Trustee


Steven H. Pierson running for re-election of Athens Township Trustee

Ashton Nichols / For The Post

Athens Township Trustee Steven H. Pierson is running for re-election in the Nov. 7 election.


In March, Pierson retired from his position as the assistant city manager of Nelsonville, where he previously served as code enforcement director. He also worked as the director of code enforcement for 14 years for the City of Athens.


Pierson has also been a member of the Athens County Regional Planning Commision for 21 years, and a member of Carpenters Local 200 in Columbus for 37 years.


“I moved here from the Sugar Grove area and started working with the city in 1994,” Pierson said. “In the area that I lived in ... I served as a planning commissioner and a board of zone appeals member. That was the experience that I had when (Athens) hired me 23 years ago.”


Pierson serves as the secretary of the Athens County Regional Planning Commission. He also serves as the secretary of the Athens Civitan Club and chairs the Board of Directors for the United Seniors of Athens County.

“If you have the time and the contacts to fund programs like this, that is where my experience lends itself well in the trustee position.”– Steven H. Pierson


“I have been involved with quite a few different things,” Pierson said. “I am a founding member of the Ohio Floodplain Managers Association. It originated from the group Water Management Association of Ohio. All of us who were doing floodplain administration had little in common with sewer operators and water operators, so we formed our own organization.”


Pierson is passionate about issues regarding flooding, public works and city maintenance. He said the Athens County Commissioners will soon enter an agreement with the City of Athens to construct a $20 million sewer project to serve approximately 1,100 residents in Athens Township.


“One of the main charges that township trustees have is to maintain township roads, and a lot of the work that is going to be done to install this sewer system will involve disturbance of the road surfaces to place sewer pipes,” Pierson said. “That’s a big concern that the trustees have over the next few years.”


About 75 percent of the Athens Township budget is based on property taxes, Pierson said. He is concerned about protecting the health and safety of residents in the Athens Township area and aiding in improvements of disposal of sewage.


“We get about 1.6 percent of everyone’s property tax that they pay,” Pierson said. “We get that in two disbursements from the county auditor, Jill Thompson, and that represents 75 percent of our total budget. ... I also want to make sure that there is potential to grow because the large part of our revenue is based on property tax.”


Pierson said his past experiences working with grants has helped him with his position as township trustee, dealing with “quality of life” questions on a daily basis.


“If you have the time and the contacts to fund programs like this, that is where my experience lends itself well in the trustee position,” Pierson said. “In the past, I’ve worked with Athens County Commissioners. It was a federal grant passed down to the state, and then distributed to each county.”


That grant funded a program known as Moving Ohio Forward, which acquires “distressed properties” for demolition. Since his time in office began, Pierson has worked with the program to demolish three houses.


Nelsonville City Manager Charles Barga has worked with Pierson for two months since he began working with the city in March.


“You’re not going to find anymore more knowledgeable about regulations regarding code enforcement, floodplain management or zoning,” Barga said. “He’s a wealth of knowledge in those areas. It was very helpful while we worked together. I still reach out to him occasionally for something I just can’t find the answers to; he’s always been very helpful with me.”


Barga said Pierson is passionate about government and is brings his passion to the position of being a trustee.  


“When it comes to local (operations), and how they operate, and how they effectively get things done, he’s just a wealth of knowledge,” Barga said. “He’s just a good person.”


Pierson is one of three candidates running for Athens township trustee. The other candidates are Eddie Smith and Brian Baker.

Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

Landing Page

Special Projects

This story is part of a series of specially designed stories that represents some of the best journalism The Post has to offer. Check out the rest of the special projects here.