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Voters in Baldwin, Jefferson Hills, other South Hills communities set to vote Nov. 7

| Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, 12:12 p.m.

Here is a look at municipal races across South Hills Record communities. Voters will go to the polls Nov. 7 with a slate of local elections, many of which are uncontested

Baldwin Borough

In Baldwin Borough, five people are running for the four council seats up for election.

Incumbent Marianne Conley, a retired nurse, is running on both the Democratic and Republican tickets. “The biggest challenge facing the borough is the public safety department,” Conley said. “In the next couple of years, three or four police officers are retiring. The biggest problem we face is replacing them and having the finances to do so.

“Most people don't realize ... public safety is the biggest part of our budget.”

Incumbent Francis Scott, who chairs council's personnel department, is running on the Democratic ticket. Scott did not respond to a request for comment. He previously served on the zoning hearing board and was the former emergency management coordinator for Baldwin.

The three newcomers vying for a council seat include Chad Hurka, a volunteer firefighter who has said he is running for council in order to do more for the borough. Hurka, who could not be reached for comment, is on the Democratic ticket.

Robert Ieraci, a Republican and veteran of Baldwin's planning commission, did not return a call for comment.

E. John Egger, who has served two terms on the Baldwin-Whitehall School Board, also has served on the borough zoning board and planning commission, as well as its civil service commission. Egger, who is running on the Democratic ticket, did not respond to a request for a comment.

Also running for re-election is Mayor David Depretis, a Democrat. Depretis, who is running unopposed, could not be reached for comment.

Baldwin Township

For Baldwin Township commissioner, three people are running for the two available seats.

Incumbent commissioner, John Paravati, who is running on the Republican ticket, said the township, like many other municipalities, continues to be challenged by the opioid epidemic. “The community needs to get more involved in reporting the activity when they see it,” said Paravati, who works as a roadway designer. “I will continue to work closely with the police to see if we can do a better job.” Incumbent Eileen Frisoli, a Democrat, did not respond to a request for comment. Challenger Robert Downey Jr., also a Democrat, did not return a call for comment.

Jefferson Hills

Five people are running for four open seats on Jefferson Hills Council.Four of the Jefferson Hills council members — David Montgomery, Vickie Ielase, Christopher King and Francis Sockman — are running for re-election. They are being challenged by Republican Gregg Daily.

Montgomery, a dispatcher for U.S. Steel, who is running as both a Democrat and Republican, said because of the borough's growth it is a challenge to keep up with that growth and continue to provide services to borough residents.

Ielease is running as a Democrat while King and Sockman are on both sides of the ticket.

King and Ielase could not be reached for comment. Sockman did not return a telephone call.

Pleasant Hills

Pleasant Hills should have a new borough mayor following the election. Current mayor, Robert Bootay III, is not running and William Trimbath, a councilman, is running unopposed for the office as both a Democrat and Republican.

Trimbath, a civil engineer, said he would like to encourage economic development along the Route 51 cloverleaf and the rest of the Route 51 corridor.

“I want to enhance the community and make the borough look good,” Trimbath said. “We are fortunate that people want to live here and we need to make it an even better place to live.”

On borough council, four incumbents, Jeffrey Solomon, Cheryl Lee Freedman, Robert Karcher and Regis Brown are up for re-election to a four-year term. They are being challenged by Marian Haley, a former communications and public relations specialist who is running as a Democrat.

Freedman, who is cross-filed, and Haley also are running for the two-year seat on council as well. Freedman could not be reached for comment.

Karcher, a retired accountant, is running as a Republican and said keeping up with the necessary sewage projects in Pleasant Hills has been a challenge.

“But, we're doing it,” he said. “I enjoy this work and like giving back to the borough.”

Haley said she is seeking a seat on council to enhance the community. “Our family-oriented community is reflected through our various public parks, library, scheduled family events, recreation sports and summer camp,” she said in an email. “However, Pleasant Hills is an established community, and our aged infrastructure presents challenges, which are currently being reviewed and addressed. As we move forward in this review, if elected, I would focus on the cost assessment to our residents and the fiscal repercussion of each phase of the discussion before approval.”

Incumbent Brown, a Republican, said he is running for re-election to continue good governance in Pleasant Hills Borough.

Brown, a retired metallurgical engineer, said the biggest issue facing the community is whether to renovate or build a new municipal building.

“The current building is around 60 years old,” he said.

Soloman, a Democrat, could not be reached for comment.

Whitehall

In Whitehall Borough, Democrat Joe Nowalk, the incumbent mayor, is facing off against Julie Mancine, a Republican. Mancine could not be reached for comment. Nowalk, an attorney, said the biggest challenge facing any local borough is public safety.“The biggest challenge facing Whitehall is the retirement of its police officers,” Nowalk said. “We are known for our excellence for public safety, including police. Our officers tend to retire in Whitehall and we are facing a significant number of retirements. The challenge is to make sure the police department continues its excellent services.”

Three incumbents on borough council are running for re-election: Kathy Depuy, a Democrat; Linda Book, a Republican, and John Wotus, a Democrat. Depuy and Book did not return calls for comment.

Wotus, who works as a hospital and patient services manager, said the biggest challenge is to continue to provide services to residents without raising taxes. “No one wants reduced services,” he said.

Newcomers Thomas Gregory Kelley, a Democrat, and Chris Mooney, a Republican, also are running for council.

Kelley, a public works director, said it is important for Whitehall's future to keep its real estate tax base. One way to accomplish this is to encourage neighbors to work with homeowners, he said.

“Everybody needs to play a part,” he said. “You can't just wave a wand and bring changes automatically,” he said.

Suzanne Elliott is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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