Budgets, Marcellus shale part of political platforms

| Friday, Nov. 4, 2011

Infrastructure demands, tight budgets and Marcellus shale drilling are among the concerns for township supervisor candidates facing competition on Tuesday. Contenders will be challenging for seats in 10 townships across Armstrong County. Supervisor candidates will run unopposed in 16 area townships and in four townships voters will write in their choices.

• In East Franklin , Republican Dan Goldinger and incumbent Democrat Doug Flanders are running for supervisor. A former supervisor, Goldinger refers to his 12 years of experience in municipal government as an asset to taxpayers. He and his opponent agree new office and equipment-storage facilities will be a major undertaking, requiring a great deal of fiscal management from township supervisors.

Flanders, a former PennDOT manager, sees fiscal control as a priority. Infrastructure improvements, including an ongoing sewage-expansion project -- while expensive -- are much needed, Flanders said.

• Two races in Manor Township will seat a two-year supervisor and a six-year supervisor. Current supervisor, Republican Jill Davis is running for both seats. She is challenged for the two-year position by Democrat Patrick Fabian and for the six-year position by Democrat Paul Rearick.

Fiscal responsibility is a common concern among all three candidates in Manor Township. One way to address the issue is to increase the tax base, Fabian said. Better marketing of the township through conventional and online public relations will help bring businesses to the area, he said. Watching residents leave the area is disheartening to Fabian who plans to raise his children in Manor Township.

Frugal spending is needed, said Rearick. Having experience in civil service and government work since 1976, he is now chief detective for Armstrong County. Rearick believes his 20 years of experience in county government will allow him to work well with the commissioners to bring jobs to the area and improve infrastructure. Rearick sees Marcellus shale drilling impact fees as a possible source of township revenue. Traffic from shale drilling has had a noticeable effect on township roads and Rearick expects supervisors to rally hard for compensation from drillers.

From salt to paving, Davis has seen the cost of maintenance escalate over her three years as township secretary. Appointed in 2010 to fill the unexpired term of Supervisor Ludwig Miller, Davis said she has worked with other supervisors to save the township more than $56,000 on health insurance for municipal workers. If elected, Davis said she has ideas about cost cutting. The police department is another point of concern, she said. Davis would like to see wages and hours increase for township police.

• Republican Paul Kirkwood and Democrat Tom Atwood are competing for the supervisor seat in North Buffalo Township. The budget is a top priority for both men. A former supervisor, Kirkwood wants to cut expenses and avoid raising taxes. He is concerned about the township's outstanding debt.

Atwood, who has a background in construction, would like to see road maintenance improve. Supervisors should complete projects that have been started, he said. Improving infrastructure, increasing police presence and keeping taxes low are critical, Atwood said.

• In Rayburn Township , Republican Gregg Smith and incumbent Democrat Randy Slease are vying for supervisor. Rayburn is one of the few local townships with positive growth, said Slease. If elected, he wants to continue to focus on growth and development. Like Paul Rearick in Manor Township, Slease is hoping Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed impact fee on shale drilling will pass in the state legislature and the benefits will trickle down to the township level. More money is needed to maintain area roadways, said Slease. Smith could not be reached for comment.

• In one of two supervisor races in Washington Township , Republican Randy Bargerstock and Democrat Raymond Fiscus are running for a six-year term.

Codes that are too strict impede building and limit what people can do with their township property, said Bargerstock. He believes most townships have rigid codes that stifle home construction. A truck driver and church organizer, Bargerstock said township supervisors should tap into fresh ideas for increasing revenue and solving budget challenges.

A former supervisor, Fiscus points to his prior 12 years experience as beneficial to the township's current needs. If elected, he will focus on keeping spending low and better planning to meet maintenance and materials needs, Fiscus said. The township's emergency and disaster preparedness plan will be a priority as well. Supervisors should keep the public informed of emergency plans and procedures, he said.

In other township supervisor races across the county:

Republican Al Cavoto and Democrat Doug Judge are candidates for the four-year supervisor seat in Washington .

Democrat Richard Mechling and Republican Jeff McKinley are vying for a six-year term in Valley .

Republican Randy Toy and Democrat Randall Patsy are running for a six-year term in Sugarcreek .

Democrat Kevin Rupert and Republican Frederick Fuellner are candidates for a six-year term in South Bend .

Republicans Mike Bash and Richard Frain and Democrat Rodney Lowers are running for two open seats in Kiski .

Democrat Joseph Bayne and Republican Herbert Christman are vying for a six-year term in Bradys Bend .

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