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Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Fine fairness: Given Latrobe's money woes, the last thing the city needs is a $7,000 fine from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Actually, it started out as a $12,000 penalty when the city's trash-transfer station permit lapsed. But the city wasn't trying to dodge the requirement and the 10-year permit has been renewed. Out of fairness to taxpayers, who ultimately pay these penalties, there should be some consideration of the city's intent to abide by the law before the state simply slaps on a fine.

Incomplete ballots: It's a recurring problem during local elections — municipal ballots without enough candidates. In North Irwin, up to four council seats could be vacant come January. As a result, people who do not run for the council, and are not necessarily enthusiastic about public service, are found to fill openings. Especially within Westmoreland's smaller communities, residents need to determine whether struggling to maintain the status quo is preferable to, for example, merging with larger municipalities.

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