Saxonburg council hopefuls focus on business
Among the five candidates vying for four seats on Saxonburg Council are two freshman councilmen and two borough business owners.
Council president William Gillespie Jr. is seeking his fifth term on council in the November 5 election.
Candidates say one of the main issues in the borough is revitalizing the business district. They also want to see the second phase of the Main Street project finished to match the recently completed historic restoration between Rebecca and Pittsburgh streets.
Saxonburg businessmen Josh Novotny and Jim Stanek both say one of their goals is to fill vacant storefronts with retail stores.
“That is what's going to help bring new people into town,” said Novotny, 32, who runs Novotny's Pizza.
He said he wants council to have an open dialogue with citizens and businesses so the borough can better serve their needs, adding that residents and business owners need to understand council's motivation behind its decisions.
“It's a matter of being able to push your own ego aside and reach out to the people in town,” Novotny said. “I'm a member of this community, and I'd like to be part of the machine that moves people forward.”
Stanek said he wants to work in conjunction with the Saxonburg Business Association, of which he and Novotny are members, to coordinate with landlords who have vacant properties.
“When someone is first starting out — I've been there — it's tough and you're trying to get up and running,” said Stanek, 50, who co-owns the Mainstay at Saxonburg bed-and-breakfast. “I want to see whether we can lower rent or give them a six-month reprieve or something.”
He said one of the challenges that existing businesses face, which are mainly restaurants or places to stay, is finding local retail establishments for visitors.
“When you bring people in for weddings and family get-togethers, it's like ‘Oh what is there to do?' ” he said. “There are two stores to shop in.”
Councilman Don Crawford, 36, a city of Butler firefighter, said he would like to remain on council to ensure the renovated portion of Main Street is properly maintained and to help get the next phase started.
He said he thinks that now that the project is completed, businesses will be attracted to the area.
“A couple businesses coming in were delayed because of the Main Street project,” he said. “I'm hoping to get more small businesses in that fit the town, like antique shops or smaller businesses.”
Fellow councilman Gillespie said maintaining the borough finances is his main focus because it will help ensure the long-term future of the town.
He said the experience he brings to the table allows him to make informed decisions and avoid past mistakes.
“It helps to have the experience in knowing where we might run into issues as far as a budget standpoint,” said Gillespie, 65, a self-employed construction management consultant. “I like working with the budget issues and making sure we don't get out of control and spend too much money.”
As the sole Democrat running, incumbent Councilman David Felsing, 59, said he doesn't mind competition.
He said he's pleased to see more people interested in serving on council.
“I'm the second-youngest on council,” he said. “It's good to see the younger people wanting to get involved in our town, because that's the future of our town.”
He said he wants to be re-elected because he's willing to offer and support new and creative ideas and work with newcomers.
“Anybody that runs for council, I applaud it because there's been years that we didn't have enough to run for council.”
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Despite challenging weather, home sales continue to rise
- Record-breaking temps could make February the coldest one since 1979
- Retired teacher pushes black history forward at Peoples Library presentation
- Arnold settles health benefits lawsuit with former councilman
- BCCC donation carries on passion of late conservationist William Baer
- Fawn teen wins national Patriot’s Pen essay contest
- Fire damages vacant Vandergrift home
- Months of hard work go into Alle-Kiski high-school musicals
- Leechburg man charged with molesting girls, watching child pornography
- 3 charged with selling heroin that killed Lower Burrell woman
- Oakmont hit-run probed