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Sutersville seeks council members

| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Sutersville Borough has once again put out a help wanted sign ­— for two community-minded people willing to give of their time and talents to serve on borough council.

Sutersville Council is accepting applications until Feb. 10 from those interested in serving a four-year term on borough council, said Valerie Converso, borough secretary. Council's regular February meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 11 and applicants could be appointed at that meeting.

Sutersville has only five members for the seven seats on council, in part because only one person was on the ballot for four seats in November's election.

Councilman Jaison Marshall was the only candidate on the ballot for council in the November 2013 election.

Former council president William “Bill” Ringbloom, who served 30 years on council, did not seek another term. Ringbloom could not be reached for comment on whether he is reconsidering his decision not to resume his service on council.

Councilman Frank Rocco Jr. received seven write-in votes and accepted his re-election, but Councilman Brian Zerone, who received three write-in votes in the election, opted not to serve another term. Zerone could not be reached for comment.

The only other person to receive write-in votes, Randy Curry, declined to serve, Converso said. Curry received three votes.

Curry did not attend council's Jan. 6 reorganization meeting, where Edward Marvich Jr. was elected to succeed Ringbloom as the new president.

If no one in the community of 600 wants to fill the vacancies on council, the borough could petition Westmoreland County President Judge Gary Caruso, to allow Sutersville to reduce the size of council to five seats, Converso said.

“We're really hoping to get some young people to serve,” Converso said. “If they like to see something in town, they can do something about it,” by serving on council, Converso said.

Mayor Alaina Breakiron, 30, said she is hopeful that some people who want to serve the community, will step up to serve on council.

“It's hard to get anyone to volunteer,” said Breakiron, who was appointed mayor in February 2012 to succeed John Lyons. Breakiron won a full four-year term in November's election.

Breakiron said she believes some people are hesitant to serve on council because some residents mistakenly believe council is involved in the Sutersville-Sewickley Municipal Sewage Authority's business, Breakiron said. The Sutersville-Sewickley authority is embroiled in an ongoing dispute with the Elizabeth Township Sewage Authority over Elizabeth Township raising the rates it charges the Sutersville-Sewickley authority for processing sewage from Sutersville-Sewickley's customers.

Converso said that there are people who complain about local government, but don't want to do anything about it by serving on council.

Unlike some municipalities that provide members with a small stipend for attending meetings, Sutersville does not offer council members any meeting fees.

“We're completely volunteer,” Breakiron said.

The borough also has failed to find a replacement for Ringbloom, who was one of Sutersville's three representatives on the Sutersville-Sewickley Municipal Sewage Authority board.

No one volunteered to fill the vacancy, Converso said. Council normally approves Sutersville's three appointments to the authority board, Converso said.

Sutersville will ask the sewage authority to find a replacement for Ringbloom, Converso said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jnapsha@tribweb.com or 724-836-5252.

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