Saxonburg race draws 5 Republicans
In a borough where residents take pride in the town's historic status, two of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Saxonburg Council want to implement strategies to attract young people and families.
“I know what we want to have for our kids,” said Mia Mazza-Petruzzi, 46, a mother of two and a quality manager at AK Steel. “I know we have a lot of older people here, and I want to start making it a place where kids want to grow up, as well as a place (for older people) to retire.”
Candidate Josh Novotny, 32, manager of Novotny Pizza's Saxonburg location, is also raising a family in the borough.
“Our children are going to be using the library, going to school here, and so I've become interested in taking part in the community,” he said. “I want to keep Saxonburg historic, but I think we can encourage growth by encouraging new families and business to come to town.”
The two are among five people vying for four Republican nominations for council in the May primary.
Incumbent David Felsing is running uncontested for the Democratic nomination.
The two incumbents seeking re-election say they want to continue their work on the borough's budget strategy and stormwater management issues.
Don Crawford, 36, a firefighter for the City of Butler, was appointed to the board in August.
“So far, I enjoy it,” he said. “My thing is stormwater management. It's a problem in the borough, and I'd like to see if I can do something with that.”
Crawford wants to ensure completion of the second phase of the Main Street revitalization project, of which stormwater management is a part.
Current council president William Gillespie, Jr., who owns an industrialconsulting business, said after about 15 years on council he is well acquainted with borough operations.
“There is a lot more to it than somebody new being there,” he said of the idea that new blood could spark improvement. “We have some budgeting decisions we face in the future. And those discussions have started, in terms of what we need to do with future budgeting, saving money and reallocating.”
James Stanek, 49, co-owner of The Mainstay Bed and Breakfast in Saxonburg, said he wants to see better communication about borough actions.
Stanek served on council for a year after being appointed in 2010, then chose not to run for election due to time constraints related to running his business.
“Now that everything is calm, I feel ready,” Stanek said. “I just want to keep everybody informed. When somebody comes to me and asks me what's going on (in borough government), I try to find an answer out.”
He equates serving on council to his job in hospitality.
“I love taking care of people,” Stanek said.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.