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Web extra: Q&A with Baldwin Borough council hopefuls

| Friday, May 17, 2013, 2:06 p.m.

The South Hills Record asked the seven candidates, all Democrats, seeking nominations to run for Baldwin Borough Council their stance on the borough's decision to eliminate nearly 30 percent of the municipality's streetlights over the last year; what changes they would like to see made to public safety in the borough; and what adjustments they would make to the borough's already tight budget.

The primary is Tuesday. The general election is in November and new candidates take office in January.

Candidate Francis Scott did not respond to questions from the South Hills Record.

Here are the answers:

Larry Brown

Q: What is your stance on the elimination of nearly 30 percent of the borough's street lights?

Brown: After numerous studies conducted by our police department, it was determined that 30 percent of lights could be removed without affecting the public safety of the borough.

Q: Would you make any changes to public safety in the borough?

Brown: The current council has increased our police department by one additional officer with the possibility of adding another. Council is attempting to consolidate four volunteer fire companies to three. This will enable the companies to be better manned and to run more efficiently and effectively in responding to alarms.

Q: Baldwin Borough operates on a tight budget each year. What adjustments would you like to see made to the borough's annual spending plan?

Brown: By tightening our belts, we are able to keep our budget in line. We have accomplished more with less funds and with the use of common sense as a voting body. Moving forward with this same philosophy is the best plan possible during these trying economic times.

Bob Collet

Q: What is your stance on the elimination of nearly 30 percent of the borough's streetlights?

Collet: After a police study and public hearings the decision was made to eliminate these lights and use these funds to enhance the road program. Hopefully that will be seen in the 2014 budget.

Q: Would you make any changes to public safety in the borough?

Collet: I will support hiring another police officer in order to return the force to its former standard. Also the intent is to help the fire companies become more efficient and effective in serving our community.

Q: Baldwin Borough operates on a tight budget each year. What adjustments would you like to see made to the borough's annual spending plan?

Collet: During the budget period, I will look at all the borough's expenses' with the intention of suggesting possible reductions and/or increases that seem necessary for the good of the borough and its citizens. My hope is to find funds to increase the road program to at least $200,000 for 2014.

John Conley

Q: What is your stance on the elimination of nearly 30 percent of the borough's streetlights?

Conley: Initially it was an effort to reduce costs and a decision was made to do so after a detailed study by our police department. However, look for LED lights hopefully in the near future that will generate much more lighting at lesser cost than we now pay.

Q: Would you make any changes to public safety in the borough?

Conley: We have one of the best police departments in Allegheny County if not the best making us feel safe in our homes at all times and we must keep our police force at capacity to insure this doesn't change.

We need and support our three (down from four) fire companies and I understand they are conferring on more efficient utilization or their resources.

Q: Baldwin Borough operates on a tight budget each year. What adjustments would you like to see made to the borough's annual spending plan?

Conley: We meet many evenings at the end of each year on the next year's budget to crunch the numbers to keep costs down while avoiding raising taxes. For help in this matter we searched for and hired the best manager we could find to help us implement innovations in our spending patterns.

Michael Ducker

Q: What is your stance on the elimination of nearly 30 percent of the borough's streetlights?

Ducker: It's easy to Monday morning someone else's quarterback decisions. I won't do that.

Ducker said he would have ensured that each resident was properly notified and each resident that responded, “I would have made sure that I contacted them each individually to make sure that their questions were answered,” he said.

Q: Would you make any changes to public safety in the borough?

Ducker: Ducker said he would need to consult the opinions of those who oversee the departments and companies, especially the police chief, before making a decision. “I would base a lot on his opinion,” he said.

Q: Baldwin Borough operates on a tight budget each year. What adjustments would you like to see made to the borough's annual spending plan?

Ducker: Council members should work with the borough manager to seek federal funds and to try and obtain grants, especially to help pay for mandated sewage projects the borough faces as part of federal and state consent decrees, Ducker said.

E. John Egger

Q: What is your stance on the elimination of nearly 30 percent of the borough's streetlights?

Egger: I feel we need to look at this again to be sure the elimination has no unsafe effect on the borough.

Q: Would you make any changes to public safety in the borough?

Egger: I would review all of these and seek public opinion on these matters.

Q: Baldwin Borough operates on a tight budget each year. What adjustments would you like to see made to the borough's annual spending plan?

Egger: I would have to see the full budget before I could make any changes, or suggestions.

Kevin Fischer

Q: What is your stance on the elimination of nearly 30 percent of the borough's streetlights?

Fischer: Not an issue I would have thought about, but now that it is done, we need to move on.

Q: Would you make any changes to public safety in the borough?

Fischer: All aspects of services that the borough provides should be reviewed annually by management with suggestions for improvements brought before the council to debate.

Q: Baldwin Borough operates on a tight budget each year. What adjustments would you like to see made to the borough's annual spending plan?

Fischer: The majority of municipalities in our county operate on a tight budget and Baldwin is no different. Past councils have provided enough funding to provide quality service at a reasonable cost. I believe the future council will work to continue that effort as we move the borough forward.

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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