Bellefonte councilwoman Dainty resigns for borough post

Bellefonte will be looking to fill a hole on Borough Council in the next 30 days.

Longtime councilwoman Vana Dainty resigned at the meeting Monday night to accept a new contracted position with the borough.

Borough Manager Ralph Stewart said the new Keystone Development community coordinator will replace a zoning officer position and be used to promote the town and look for state grants.

“We see a lot of strong possibilities for promoting our community and for helping people see reasons to come into our community, he said.

The position will be budget neutral because they will use the money that would have been for the zoning position and repurpose it. Stewart said they will save money because the contracted position doesn’t come with full benefits.

They have been talking about the possibility for about a year and decided to execute it when the money from the other position came off the books. Dainty will start Dec. 2.

A big key that sold the borough on the position is the opportunity to get grants, including a chance for money for sprinkler systems. After all the fires in the historic buildings in town, officials have been looking for ways to have sprinkler systems in buildings.

Anything that will give financial relief to building owners or businesses in regard to fire prevention is a positive, Stewart said.

“Obviously we’ve been hard hit with major fires in our community, and financial assistance of any kind would help alleviate the situation,” he said.

And Dainty is excited to get going.

The job will be 60 percent outreach and promotion and 40 percent zoning responsibilities. She will be working with the council and businesses to address needs or bring in new attractions.

With her experience working in local government, she hopes to be able to create positive change.

“I’ve always been involved in things in Bellefonte,” Dainty said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for me and for Bellefonte.”

Dainty said she enjoyed her eight years on the council and the bonds that she formed with the other members. She said they have a unique connection where they could have arguments and debates during the meeting, but when it’s over, they laugh, joke and have a good time.

Stewart said the job was posted and broadcast for everyone, and an impartial representative from the Pennsylvania Downtown Center ultimately had a large say in the final choice. She got the position because she deserved it, not just because of her work on the council, Stewart said.

Bellefonte now will be accepting resumes and requests from South Ward residents to fill the seat for the remaining two years of Dainty’s term. The council would like to choose a replacement at the Dec. 16 meeting because the law says it must be done within 30 days of the resignation, Stewart said.