Four seek Rostraver Twp. seats
Four candidates are vying for two seats on the Rostraver Township Board of Commissioners.
Incumbent Pat Egros will face fellow Democrat Ray Iacoboni and Republican nominees Devin DeRienzo and Jared Naylor on Tuesday.
Commissioner Andrew Temoshenka did not seek re-election.
Egros and Iacoboni beat five other Democratic candidates, including former township Commissioner Nick Lorenzo, in the May primary.
Egros, 55, is seeking a third term. He works for the Westmoreland County Municipal Authority in New Stanton, maintaining pump stations and tanks.
Egros chairs the township health and welfare committee.
He has taken the lead in a year-long battle between township residents and the Tervita landfill over odor and health concerns.
He spearheaded a resolution that asked state Department of Environmental Protection to deny the landfill's request for a new operating permit.
“As you know, we have some unresolved issues with the landfill, and some people wanted me to stay on board until it's resolved,” Egros said. “I'll follow through with our plan as far as petitioning the DEP and keeping a watchful eye on the landfill.”
Egros cited “a plethora of issues” for his desire to stay on the board, including the recently formed Fire Fund, in which the township allotted $300,000 in 2013 for its three fire departments: Rostraver No. 1, Rostraver Central and Collinsburg.
Egros said he'd like to make trash collection cheaper and greener.
“We're carrying a surplus in our solid waste account, and I believe our board is in agreement for possibly, and I say possibly, issuing a refund for trash collection next year,” Egros said.
“We're also looking into streamlining the trash collections and keep more recyclables out of our landfill.”
Egros said it's been difficult to juggle private work with being a commissioner, but that his supporters won him over.
“I was encouraged to stay in this race,” he said. “It is difficult at times, but some have put their faith in me and I didn't want to disappoint these people.”
Iacoboni, 54, is a township businessman. He owns and operates Val's beer distributor and car wash on Rostraver Road.
Iacoboni serves on the Rostraver Township Sewage Authority and was a vocal opponent of the authority's recent rate hike, claiming it placed an unfair burden on businesses.
“I'm running because I feel I can do some good for the township, make sound decisions and make the township more business-friendly,” Iacoboni said.
Iacoboni said he'd like to avoid merging the township's three fire companies at the Rostraver Central location. He said the three departments are vital to their respective areas.
“I've tried to stay out of that (debate), and it's a tight rope to walk,” he said. “They really don't need to (merge), because all three are financially solvent and they do what they need to do and raise money to keep their places afloat.”
Iacoboni vowed to make the township more accommodating to new businesses and homes.
“It's tough to want to do business here with so many rules and regulations (in place),” he said. “I want to work more with people to get things moving more smoothly, whether it be building a house or place of business.”
Devin DeRienzo, 37, has been a staple at township commissioner meetings for the past two years, sitting in the back row and dutifully taking notes.
He works at the U.S. Steel Irvin Works in Dravosburg. He serves as treasurer for Rostraver Central fire department, where he's been an active firefighter for more than 20 years.
“About two years ago, I got involved and started going to meetings because (township officials) were not allowing the residents where I live to pay tap-in fees instead of having to pay for it the rest of their lives,” DeRienzo said.
“There are residents still without city water and you know the story of the landfill. … And this is a first class township.”
DeRienzo was at the forefront of an effort that eventually coaxed the commissioners to create the fire fund – asserting that casinos and state gaming regulations have devastated bingos and other small game-of-chance fundraisers the department needs for equipment, maintenance and other expenses.
“To succeed, you can't sit back and let the future come to you,” he said. “You look at what's happened with surrounding municipalities. Rostraver needs to stay ahead of that.”
DeRienzo touts his business and financial background as a former operations manager at Diakon Logistics, based in Manassas, Va.
“I would try to push to create a five-year capital improvement plan,” he said. “This township has become stagnant in both commercial and residential growth. If it doesn't grow, there will be a tax increase due to lack of revenue and development.”
DeRienzo said his plan would center on improving infrastructure.
“Rostraver needs to invest back into Rostraver,” he said.
“We should be able to say in three years or in five years, this is what the road department needs to do and these are the roads we need to pave.”
Jared Naylor, 27, is a Belle Vernon Area High School graduate and works for his family's business, Naylor Excavating and Landscaping.
He holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from West Virginia University.
“I'm part of the third generation of the Naylor family that has roots, property and businesses in Rostraver Township,” he said. “I plan to live my life here, too, which is why I think it's important for a young, qualified person to be elected as township commissioner.”
Naylor said he'd work to end what he called an “imbalance in sewage rates that charge people at two different levels,” address the Tervita landfill odor problem and other environmental issues, and continue upkeep of roads and recreation facilities.
“My goal is to maintain the rural and residential balance in the township and to promote responsible business growth that supports our tax base and provides jobs,” he said.
Although he's running as a Republican, Naylor said the election shouldn't be based on one's political party.
“It should be about people with the best qualifications to be (commissioner) and represent taxpayers with responsibility and accountability,” Naylor said. “I pledge to treat residents fairly and equally.”
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2635.