4 Plum Council seats up for grabs
By Karen Zapf
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The eight candidates running for four Plum Council seats represent a mixture of political experience and new faces.
The candidates for the Nov. 5 election include incumbents Michael Dell, Mike Doyle and Leonard Szarmach, who are running with newcomer David Seitz, all Republicans. The GOP candidates are in a race with former councilmen Paul Dern and Dave Vento, who are on a ticket with first-time candidates Ron Gancas and Michael Guida, all Democrats.
The four-year term runs from Jan. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2017.
Seitz is taking Councilman Keith Nowalk's position on the ballot. Nowalk decided against seeking re-election.
Doyle and Dell say they moved the borough forward in several areas over the past four years.
“We have lowered the millage rate, the bond rating has gone from an A to A-plus, we have hired more police officers and just built a state-of-the-art public works facility,” said Doyle, council president.
Council members voted earlier this year to lower the property tax rate from 4.3 to 3.78 mills.
Doyle said in the next four years, he would work toward development of the Route 909 corridor by installing water service and sewage connections there.
“That side of the borough needs development,” Doyle said. “It leads in to Oakmont. It is a main artery. It would be prime if it had water and sewage.”
Dell, finance committee chairman, said he wants to finish projects he has helped to start including a new building to house an ambulance base for Plum Emergency Medical Services and a new fire station for the Renton Volunteer Fire Department.
Dell also wants to be involved with further development at the borough property site in Renton, including a skating rink and amphitheater that he said has the potential for private funding. He also looks toward redevelopment at the current borough building site on New Texas Road.
“We have had interest in the development of the borough building site,” Dell said.
Seitz, vice president of the Plum Baseball & Softball Association, wants to be involved in attracting more businesses to Plum and expanding development at the Renton site.
Also, “I would try to find a way to use the money we have as vigilantly as possible,” Seitz said.
Szarmach is proud of accomplishments including reaching an early agreement on a contract with the police department. The last two contracts were achieved through arbitration.
“We are looking out for our employees and the borough,” Szarmach said.
If re-elected, Szarmach wants more money devoted to repairing roads. “The roads have been neglected for quite a while,” he said.
Gancas, a member of the Plum Borough Planning Commission, said he would work to attract more light industrial businesses and try to get residents to provide more support for Plum EMS and the volunteer fire departments.
Gancas, retired president of Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland, also would use his fundraising skills to try to get more grant money.
“I raised $28 million for Soldiers and Sailors Hall,” Gancas said.
Guida sees a need for road improvements and cited Millers Lane in the Regency section of the borough as an example. The road needs more than $1 million in repairs, borough officials have said.
Guida also would concentrate on attracting more business development on Route 286 as well as on Davidson Road, home to some light industrial companies.
“I would like to see more commercial and industrial development,” Guida said.
Dern and Vento said they would like to again participate in some projects that were in the infancy stages during their previous stints as councilmen.
“We need to be more proactive in developing new ways to keep taxes low and services at the premium level residents are accustomed to (having),” Dern said.
Dern also endorses moving forward with development of the property in Renton “as long as there are no private tax dollars involved.”
Vento would push harder for redevelopment of the borough building site, so that development of the Renton property can proceed.
“I am behind the original vision of the town center, marketing the existing borough property and using the money for development of the property on Renton Road,” Vento said. “I want to utilize the area to the fullest extent.”
Vento also would push state officials to proceed with plans to widen Route 286, and would work to get more state grant money.
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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