Five candidates seek four seats on Bolivar council
Whether it's protecting Bolivar with a greater police presence or enticing more businesses to town, the five Democrats seeking the party nominations for four council seats all have the same goal — to sustain the borough, despite its skeleton budget and dwindling population.
One incumbent, two recent appointees and two challengers will face off in the May 21 primary. There are three slots with four-year terms and an additional seat with a two-year term. There are no candidates for the Republican nomination.
Councilman Dan Short Jr., 55, who is seeking nomination for a four-year term, said police coverage is his first priority.
Short, who voted for a budget that did not include funding for the part-time police department, said he has changed his mind.
“We need to find a way to get money for the cops, any way possible,” said Short, who has been on council for six years. “We need police coverage in this town.”
Challenger Arthur Sisitki, 54, said the police force must be funded for the long term.
“I think we need to be thinking about a long-term vision for Bolivar,” Sisitki said. “We need to think about how things are going to affect the borough in five, 10, 20 years.”
Sisitki is seeking a four-year term.
Challenger Adrien “Lulu” Cameron, 24, said she'd like to see Bolivar employ at least one officer, but she's also interested in establishing more services, such as an ambulance service.
“With today's world, you never know what will happen. As it stands, we have no one to call,” said Cameron, who is seeking a four-year term.
Cameron said the nuisance ordinance should be more strictly enforced, especially for dilapidated homes owned by people living elsewhere. “I think the borough is starting to work on this, but we need a more formal approach,” she said.
Councilwoman Sue Bartow, 49, said she is focused on attracting businesses and residents to Bolivar.
Bartow, who was appointed last fall, has been working with a local builder on a proposed project for a senior housing complex on borough property.
“It would bring people in and more people means more businesses,” Bartow said. “Also, the borough is trying to operate on a $58,000 budget. The senior housing project would also bring in more money through taxes.”
Bartow is seeking nomination for both the four-year seat and the two-year seat.
Councilwoman Amy McClellan, 40, said she wants to see better — and more equal — representation for residents.
“People are afraid to speak up. They're afraid to come to the meeting and complain, because they don't want to make enemies or trample on anyone's toes. I want to be a mouthpiece for the people. I want to be able to fight for them,” said McClellan, who was appointed earlier this year, is seeking nomination for a four-year seat.
Short said he's running because he wants to “help the people and help the town.”
He's been a volunteer firefighter since 1995 and has served as vice president of the fire company for the past four years. He volunteers with the Recreation Board and helped to build the stage at Burkey Park.
Bartow served as a local mail carrier for 20 years, until her position was eliminated. She said she's spent the last few years focusing on helping residents of Bolivar and neighboring communities get state or local aid.
“Bolivar is a close-knit community where you can raise your children. Kids can play outside and walk to the parks or the store for a soft drink,” Bartow said. “It's a little community full of people who have lived here all their lives. I just want to help Bolivar sustain itself.”
Bartow and Charlie Boring have one daughter, candidate Cameron, and a grandchild on the way.
McClellan said she wants to prevent Bolivar from becoming a “ghost town.”
“It's a nice town. People generally care about what's going on, and I don't want to see Bolivar get any more run down,” said McClellan, who is a cashier at Lamantia's grocery store. She said six years on the job has allowed her to get to know the people of Bolivar, and it makes her accessible to the public. She and Noel Lickenfelt are raising three daughters and one granddaughter.
Cameron said she views her age as an asset in the campaign.
“I think it would be good to have someone from the younger population on council,” she said. “I will be able to give different insight and I'm really open to change and looking at all the options and finding a solution for the problems that face Bolivar.”
She is a health information management clerk at Indiana Regional Medical Center with an associate's degree in speciality business. She and Jamie Cameron are expecting their child in one month.
Sisitki said he has served as a volunteer paramedic with the Tri-Community Ambulance Service in Bolivar for 22 years, before it closed. He's coached baseball and T-ball and formerly served as mayor. He serves on the Recreation Board and the Sesquicentennial Committee.
He's worked as a landscaper at Laurel Valley Golf Club for the past 14 years. He and his wife, Carol, have been married for 31 years and have four adult children and one grandson.
“This job isn't a one-meeting-a-month deal. You have to always be thinking and working on projects, and I'm ready to do that,” he said.