Incumbent, resident face off for Kittanning mayoral post
Voters will decide in the Nov. 5 general election who will hold the office of Kittanning mayor.
Republican incumbent Mayor Kirk Atwood, 32, and Sandra Lee Bauer, 70, a Democrat, plan to face off for the post.
Atwood secured his party's nomination to seek a second term in office against challenger George Shreckengost by 182 votes during May's primary election.
Shreckengost received 49 votes, while Atwood received 231. An additional 49 votes were cast for write-in candidates.
Bauer earned the Democratic nomination when she received 84 votes, besting Robert Fox, who got 67 votes, followed by Michael P. Johns and Thomas Ondo, who received 42 and 21 votes, respectively. There were 62 votes cast for write-in candidates.
Atwood said he got his first taste of public service when he served as a campaign intern for state Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Ford City. Atwood said he has been driven to serve the public ever since. At 28, he was the youngest elected mayor in Kittanning's history.
If elected for a second term, Atwood said he would like the borough to remain focused on financial solvency and avoid excessive and potentially wasteful spending.
One of the largest forecasted purchases is a police dog, which Atwood said he opposes.
“We're broke and need to make sure we move in a better direction,” Atwood said. “If we purchase a dog, there are going to be huge costs associated with overtime and training, and we need to evaluate how we can afford it.”
In addition to addressing financial concerns, Atwood said Kittanning's elected officials need to “make a return to decorum.”
“Our meetings haven't been operating as well as they should, and, at times, it's been an embarrassment,” Atwood said. “We need a clear vision and leadership in this borough.”
Bauer, a lifelong Kittanning resident who has not held an elected office, hopes her volunteer background will help her become the next mayor.
She is a member of Kittanning Hose Company 4, treasurer of the Armstrong County Community Action Agency, past president and founder of the St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Shop on Market Street and president of the St. Vincent De Paul Society.
Bauer said Kittanning has many assets, including its downtown district, park and riverfront area, but the borough needs to make sure Kittanning stays clean and that properties are well maintained. She is in favor of an increased police presence, especially along Market Street and in alleyways.
“Our police's presence means a lot, especially to senior citizens,” Bauer said. “We live in a beautiful town, but it's not drawing people because it has not been kept up.”
Bauer said Kittanning residents need to work together to make sure that their voices are heard by borough government, that their properties remain clean and tidy and that they can prevent problems, as they have already begun to do through the Kittanning Crime Watch.
“People are starting to call in and report things and get things documented,” Bauer said. “Our people must be involved to turn the borough around and to make it a safe place to visit, live, shop and come for recreation.”
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or firstname.lastname@example.org.