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Two candidates seek Democratic nomination in Baldwin's mayor race

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Edward Moeller
David Depretis

Two candidates vying for the Democratic mayoral nomination in Baldwin Borough say they will review a study being conducted of the municipality's police department before deciding if they would support hiring additional officers.

Two Baldwin Borough councilmen are squaring off to receive the Democratic party nomination to serve as the borough's mayor in the May 21 election. Council President David Depretis, 55, and Councilman Edward Moeller, 52, are seeking to replace 16-year Mayor Alexander Bennett, who is retiring from office when his term ends at the end of this year.

No one has filed as a Republican. The top vote-getter in the primary advances to the general election on Nov. 5.

One of the duties of Baldwin's mayor is to oversee the police department. Hiring additional officers for the 25-member force has been discussed during the last several budget seasons. One officer was hired by council last month.

“I believe that our police force is one of the most important assets to our borough. They need to have an appropriate amount of officers on duty to ensure the safety of our residents,” said Moeller, accounts-receivable administrator for the Allegheny County Airport Authority. “Once a study is completed as to how the office is staffed, I would support an additional officer if needed.”

Depretis, a technical-project manager at McKesson Corp., said he, too, would review the study, as well as look at the borough budget and recommendations from the chief of police before making a decision.

He also would make the police department a priority.

“I will work closely with the chief of police and the police department on any issues that may arise. I can make myself available during the day if necessary to address any problems or concerns,” said Depretis, who received an endorsement from the Baldwin Borough Democratic Committee.

Depretis, who has served on Baldwin Council since 2002 and has overseen numerous committees during that time, said he's “excited about the possibility” of becoming mayor.

“I believe in community service. Growing up in Baldwin — giving back, that is what I want to continue. I have the community at heart,” he said. “I have the municipal experience. I feel I could be a good mayor.”

Moeller, who has served on Baldwin Council since 2010 and was a member of the Baldwin-Whitehall School Board from 2006 to 2009, said he thinks the mayor is the “face of the community.”

“He needs to be outgoing and involved both within the borough and outside. The mayor needs to have a working relationship with elected officials in the surrounding communities. Because of my involvement in various boards and committees, I feel that I am the most qualified to hold this position,” Moeller said.

“As an elected official, I have worked hard over the last three-plus years with the rest of council and the mayor to help increase services in our community, while maintaining a tight fiscal budget. I believe we have accomplished these goals. Four years ago, I came to our residents along with (councilmen) Bob Collet and Larry Brown to offer change to the borough, and we would like to continue in these efforts,” Moeller added.

Both candidates said they have tried to keep the borough's budget — and tight finances — in check.

“We have worked very hard over the last three years to maintain the budget without the need of a tax increase,” Moeller said.

“We are doing a great job with the budget. We have adopted a five-year capital-improvement plan that will maintain our equipment and facilities for the coming years. We will need to continue to evaluate our expenditures and look for other revenue sources,” Depretis said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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