Harmar tax collector challenges incumbent supervisor
This year's election for Harmar supervisor features a head-to-head contest between a one-term incumbent and the township's longtime tax collector.
Supervisor Michael Hillery, a Republican, is being challenged for re-election to a six-year term by Democrat Patricia A. Janoski.
Janoski is not seeking re-election as tax collector.
James R. DiPalma, a former supervisor, is the sole candidate for tax collector, appearing on both the Republican and Democratic ballots.
Harmar is governed by five supervisors. Hillery's seat is the only one up for election this year.
Hillery, who has been chairman for three years, said he has worked to bring an end to the “constant bickering and fighting” that had long been a hallmark of politics in Harmar.
“I think the majority of this board, if you look at what we've done in six years, I don't think anyone can argue with it. You're seeing a Harmar Township people don't recognize anymore,” he said.
But Janoski said she sees room for improvement.
“It takes everybody to work together to get the job done,” she said. “You work together and work in harmony and discuss it as mature adults. You get more done that way.”
Hillery, who shuns the label of “politician,” said embarrassing battles between warring factions motivated him to run for supervisor. The supervisors appeared unprofessional and unproductive, he said.
“There had to be something better to offer residents than that,” he said.
Since taking office, he said he and a majority of the supervisors — Linda Slomer and Jerry Chalmers — have made strides in all township departments.
“We all work together now,” he said. “We're running the community with one focus, and that's all the residents in the township and what's best for them.”
Hillery said the township building has been improved after years of neglect, and now features art by Allegheny Valley school students. Office staff are hired for their qualifications, not because of who they know.
He pointed to strides made in the township's police department, including hiring a new chief, and the formation of the new Allegheny Valley Fire Department, resulting from a merger of Harmar and Springdale Township departments.
“That fire department merger has benefited residents tremendously,” he said. “To date, it's been extremely successful.”
The township has worked hand-in-hand with developers to bring employers to the community, such as the new Pitt-Ohio trucking terminal and a new Hampton Inn hotel, Hillery said.
The township has paid off its debt, and is building a reserve to handle road and bridge work, he said.
“We don't borrow money to get by. We fund ourselves through our budget,” he said.
Janoski said the township's debt was due to be paid off anyway, and Hillery was only fortunate to have it happen during his tenure.
As tax collector, Janoski said she has listened to taxpayers for 13 years. Many of them are “disgruntled” about things happening in the township, she said.
“This comes from people from all walks of life. It's from everybody,” she said. “I've listened to them for so many years. It's always the same. You feel that you could maybe help them in some way. I felt this might be the right time to do it.”
Janoski said all the supervisors, not just a majority, need to work together and act professionally.
“Every board member was elected by the people and for the people, and every member should be treated that way,” she said. “The whole board runs the community, not just one or two people. Every board member needs to be treated equally. Whether you like them or don't like them they got elected by the people.”
Janoski said she wants to keep an eye on what could be “needless spending,” such as the recent work on the township building, which she said had been cared for.
“We need to be good stewards of our money,” she said. “It's not my money. It's the taxpayers' money that allows us to do those things.”
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 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.
- Dozens of cats rescued from trash-filled home in Arnold
- 3rd ex-Springdale officer files lawsuit
- Foster mother awaits abuse charges
- Friday night lights begin with 13 of 14 Alle-Kiski Valley teams opening their season
- Teens held for trial in New Kensington cobbler heist
- Picketer found to be at fault in accident at ATI plant
- Freeport Area to explore options for storing maintenance equipment
- Butler organization seeks answers for unexplained phenomena
- ATI continues to produce, ship products
- Roofs to cost Freeport Area as much as $1.7 million over 3 years
- 3 named to do jobs of former South Butler School official