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Voters guide: Bellefonte Borough Council

All candidates were asked to respond to the following question:

What are your three top priorities for this position?

Bellefonte Borough Council

Term: Four years

Salary: $1,500/year

Ward 1

REPUBLICAN

Brian Walker

Date of birth: Nov. 16, 1973

Education: 1992, Bellefonte Area High School; 1998, Penn State, BAE

Occupation: Architectural engineer

Qualifications: Consulting engineering project experiences including working with a team of people; planning and budgeting; sustainability, energy usage and efficiency; and of course permitting and compliance with building codes and local ordinances. Projects present common and unique situations needing proactive (and sometimes reactive) solutions to successfully meet these challenges.

Answer to question:1. Balancing the annual budget with minimal tax increases as the operating and overhead costs continually increase remains a challenge. 2. There are a few exciting opportunities currently underway to maximize the tax base within the borough limits in a way that is beneficial to residents, the history and the uniqueness of the borough. 3. Obligation to be accessible and available as a resource for borough residents who have questions, comments or concerns.

DEMOCRAT

Douglas A. Johnson

Date of birth: Jan. 20, 1951

Education: Bellefonte Area High School; U.S. Army Signal School: Electronic Instrument Repair. Attended various engineering classes related to work at Penn State. Certified hyperbaric chamber operator.

Occupation: Retired senior engineering aide/facilities manager at Noll Laboratory at Penn State. Currently, assistant (football) communicator with Big Ten officiating crew.

Qualifications: Currently serve on the Bellefonte Planning Commission; lifelong resident of Bellefonte borough.

Answer to question: 1. As a council member, council must formulate the budget, enforce ordinances and resolutions, adopt a budget, and the difficult job of levying taxes when needed. 2. Formulate the budget, approve expenditures and hire employees in the best interest of the borough residents. 3. Be a problem solver as an agent for the borough citizens, be the recipient of complaints, ideas and suggestions of the borough residents. Thus being a public servant to our borough residents. Make every effort to attract new commerce to Bellefonte. Be a good neighbor to surrounding townships and boroughs.

Ward 2

REPUBLICAN

Renee Brown

Did not respond.

DEMOCRAT

Karen Harvey

Did not respond.

Ward 3

REPUBLICAN

Frank Bud Halderman

Date of birth: Jan. 6, 1948

Education: Bellefonte High School; attended Penn State.

Occupation: Retired

Qualifications: Bellefonte Borough Council since 1980, member board of directors Pennsylvania State Boroughs Association Representing Centre and Clearfield counties, board member 811 PA One Call, vice president Bellefonte Water and Sewer Authority, vice chairman Bellefonte Industrial Authority, chairman Centre County Cable Consortium

Answer to question: The first priority would be for the completion of the waterfront project that is in the midst of construction at this time and the continued progress to work with a developer to bring a boutique hotel and other amenities to the site of the former Bush House and Cerro building. Secondly, finish current negotiations with a developer to preserve and to return the former Pennsylvania National Guard site to the tax rolls. Seeing the downtown return to prosperity with the addition of residents and shoppers to the downtown with the completion of the current county renovations and developer housing projects.

DEMOCRAT

Joanne Tosti-Vasey

Date of birth: Aug. 8, 1953

Education: B.S. and M.S., Virginia Tech; Ph.D., Penn State

Occupation: Community organizer

Qualifications: Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association, 25 years; Centre County Advisory Council to the PHRC, chair, 2.5 years, member, 23 years; Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, 18 years; Bellefonte Borough Façade Improvement Grant Committee alternate member, nine months.

Answer to question: First, Bellefonte must plan for and develop an integrated waterfront district and downtown in an architecturally sensitive and appropriate manner. Second, we need to work with the county government to balance the needs of our shared town. Third, we need to work with the business and arts/cultural community to bring back a vibrant downtown Bellefonte. These priorities will not come without due diligence and oversight. We need elected officials who are concerned about open and responsive local government who listen to the public and who work with local businesses for an improved downtown. I will fight for these priorities.

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