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Valley News Dispatch

West Deer voters might see five more ballot questions

| Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 10:21 p.m.
West Deer Township municipal offices.
West Deer Township municipal offices.

Now that the dust has settled after Tuesday's primary election ballot initiatives, West Deer voters are gearing up for five more questions for the general election in November.

The township's home rule charter commission explained what's in store for Nov. 6 to supervisors Wednesday night.

• Compensation for supervisors. Voters will be asked whether to issue a $50 stipend per supervisor, per meeting.

• The authority of individual supervisors will be defined. West Deer — along with many other municipalities — has elected officials telling road crew members to plow their driveways or fill a pothole in front of a constituent's house.

“You can't have seven different supervisors handing out orders, then have an eighth who's supposed to be giving the orders,” charter committee member Jim Cesnick said. “This is an important item.”

• Vacancies. How to fill vacancies on the board will be addressed.

• Language in ordinances. Action is required to modernizing grammar and gender-specific language when developing ordinances.

• In a seemingly minor question, the committee would like to do away with the time mandated each year for the reorganization meeting. It's now 8 p.m. The charter committee wants to allow supervisors to designate any time for the meeting.

No action was taken by supervisors Wednesday.

But a vote is expected June 20 to authorize advertising the ballot questions.

If that passes, a July 18 vote will be scheduled to allow the initiatives on the ballot.

Fall election ballot questions must be submitted to the Allegheny County elections bureau by Aug. 13.

Supervisor Bev Jordan told residents the board will be voting just to authorize the ballot questions and will not favor or advocate any question.

Board to be reduced

After Tuesday's vote to reduce the number of supervisors from seven to five and to create four election districts, it will take more than three years for the move to go into full effect.

West Deer will create four districts equal in population. The data will be submitted to the county elections board for review.

If disagreements ensue, the courts might have the final word.

Each district will elect one supervisor. Then, the entire township will vote for a fifth supervisor, elected at large.

One thing that won't change is the charter rule that a supervisors step down after eight years of service. The affected supervisor must sit out a two-year cycle, but could choose to run again after two years.

Next year, Supervisors Richard DiSanti and Gerry Vaerewyck are ineligible to run.

The seats of Shirley Hollibaugh and Joyce Romig are up, and they can run in 2019.

Jordan, Arlind Karpizi and Shawn Maudhuit just started four-year terms and will not be up for re-election until 2021.

On Jan. 1, 2022, the new system will be fully implemented.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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