BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — After serving on Maumee City Council for more than two decades, Brent Buehrer announced on Tuesday that he is stepping down from office.
He will participate in the Tuesday, July 6 meeting before officially resigning his seat. Members of council will likely hold a special meeting after that date to name the individual who will serve the remaining six months of his term, said city administrator Patrick Burtch.
Buehrer’s announcement came at the conclusion of the June 21 meeting.
“I’m excited for the next generation who are eager to serve. There are some city-changing projects on the horizon with the uptown revitalization of Conant Street, the much-needed 20A interchange, the Anthony Wayne Trail improvements and hopefully the transformation of the Lucas County Recreation Center property. It will be a fulfilling time to serve for our new council members who are community-driven,” he said. “For me, my professional passion has always been architecture, but serving on city council has been extremely rewarding.”
Buehrer estimates he has attended nearly 1,000 city-related meetings throughout his tenure. He has served on every committee and has been involved in several city projects, including the development of Side Cut Crossings, the redevelopment of the Maumee Indoor Theater and upgrading the city facilities.
He has also been an integral part of the finance committee, serving as chair for several years. He is proud of the fact that throughout his tenure, both income tax and property tax were never raised while the operational, capital, sewer and water funds remained in the black.
“Former Maumee Finance Director Richard Pfaff deserves much credit for helping create sound city accounting practices. Our financial successes are unparalleled for a community of our size,” he said.
The development of Arrowhead Park, the establishments of Joint Economic Development Districts, Joint Economic Development Zones and Tax Increment Financing funding have also been instrumental in bolstering Maumee’s economic foothold, he said.
He also extended his appreciation to city staff, especially to city administrator Patrick Burtch, who was hired last year.
“His arrival makes my departure much easier. I am excited for what Maumee can be under his leadership,” he said.
Buehrer also thanked his wife Michelle and children Grant, Drew and Cate for their love and support.
“In this age of social media and instant self-gratification, no one should forget it’s the deeds we do, the things we accomplish, the family we raise that measure a person,” he said.
Buehrer, a Republican, was first elected to council in 1997 and is currently serving his sixth term in office. Getting one-on-one time with voters by going door to door has proven to be a valuable asset and the thing he will miss most when he leaves.
“I really did like going door to door and talking to the citizens. If you take the time to listen, you can learn far more than you can share,” he said. “It was always enjoyable – a lot of work, but once you get into it, it was rewarding.”
His decision to step down before the end of his tenure was always planned, he said. His announcement coincides with the fact that he and his wife have purchased a home in Monclova Township, and the city charter stipulates that council members must reside within the city limits.
“I made the decision in March of 2020,” he said.
It is likely that one of the candidates currently running for office will be named to his seat and by stepping down early, that individual will have an opportunity to get experience before a new term starts, he added.
Buehrer will remain on council for the July meeting because of the important issues coming up for a vote, including TARTA’s request for a new sales tax revenue stream and water rate increases. It would not be fair to ask someone new to council to make such big decisions in their first meeting, he added.
“When I look back at my career over 23 years, this is one of the biggest council meetings in my tenure,” he said.
Buehrer’s fellow council members thanked him for his leadership on council and service to the community.
Council member Tracey Elmore said his grasp and knowledge of Maumee has impacted her understanding of issues and her decision-making. Scott Noonan said he appreciates Buehrer’s commitment to the budget and ensuring the city is running efficiently, and council member Gabe Barrow called him his mentor.
“Brent has been very important and he recommended to me that when I start on council, if there is something that I don’t understand, ask the question before the meetings. I took his advice. Thanks for your many years of devotion to Maumee,” he said.
Maumee Mayor Richard Carr said that Buehrer has strong opinions and is well-educated on topics, but is also a good listener, especially while discussing an issue with someone with whom he may not agree.
“You will have an open discussion with them and you are willing to change your mind,” Carr said. “That is so rare today and it’s one of the problems with our society. We are so divided that we are not willing to listen to each other, and if anybody takes anything from your service on council, I hope it’s the ability to listen to the other side and the ability to change their mind.”