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New Collier commissioners aim to give back

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Collier commissioners reorganized Monday night, swearing in two of three new commission members.

Democrat Nichole Kauer and Republican Wayne Chiurazzi, who ran on both tickets, were sworn in by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Alex Bicket. Republican Jason Oskamp, who was out of town on business, was sworn in last week. Bob Schuler was sworn in as tax collector.

Oskamp voted by phone for commission president and vice president.

“The staff and I look forward to continuing the transition and providing any and all information needed as the board of commissioners establishes the priorities and strategic plan for Collier,” township manager Sal Sirabella said.

Councilman George Macino was voted commission president, and councilman Wilson Durisko was voted vice president.

Kauer, 25, said her main goal for her first year as commissioner is transparency.

“I'd like to see us develop and maintain a transparent top-level governing body,” she said. “I want to build trust with the entire community — residents, businesses and employees.”

Nichole Kauer and her sister, Noelle, own the Presto Qwik Stop in Collier, and she said the township has always been good to them. She said her family has always been involved in the community and it was a personal goal to become a part of the local government.

She said she never thought she would be doing so at 25, but the timing was right.

“With three devoted members all leaving, I decided it was a perfect time to jump in,” she said.

Oskamp, 41, spent the past year on the parks and recreation board and decided he wanted to do more.

“What I've come to realize is that the reason I'm so proud to be from here — the reason I have so many great memories of growing up here — is because of the ordinary citizens who stepped up and volunteered,” he said.

He said he wants his two children to have the same pride and great memories.

“The only way that will happen is if somebody helps create a better, stronger, safer community,” he said. “I can either sit on the couch and talk or get over to the township building and help out.”

His year on the parks and recreation board has helped prepare him for commissionership, he said. He said he thinks his conservative views will be an asset to the community.

“It's important to be conservative fiscally,” he said. “There's a lot of land in Collier, and we want to make sure we manage our growth.”

Chiurazzi, 47, also wanted to give back.

“I decided that it was time to give back,” he said. “I believe the role of Collier commissioner is very important, and I'm running because I care about the Collier community.”

As the township grows, he said, it is important to keep an idea on the tax rates.

“I will ensure that our tax rates are appropriate and that the dollars are being spent wisely to drive a return on our tax dollar investment.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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