Politics & Government

Municipal races

About this guide

The information in this portion of the Voters’ Guide was compiled by the Centre Daily Times from responses to written requests sent to every candidate whose name is on the May primary ballot.

In contested races, each candidate was asked to respond to this question: What do you see as the most important issues/concerns facing your municipality?

County Recorder of Deeds

Job description: The Centre County Recorder of Deeds Office’s primary mission is to record, protect, preserve and reproduce legal documents that relate to real estate in Centre County and act as an agent for real estate transfer tax. The office also collects and distributes a fee provided for the administrative office of Pennsylvania courts and various other fees and records veterans’ military discharge documents.

Term: four years

Salary: $59,372 (effective 2008)

One seat

Joseph L. Davidson

Party: Republican

Address: State College

Birth date: Sept. 18, 1960

Education: Penn State business administration degree, State College Area schools

Occupation: Centre County recorder of deeds

Qualifications: elected Centre County recorder of deeds in November 1999; more than 30 years experience in business and customer service, finance, management and marketing.

Answer to question: It’s my job and the job of our team in the recorder’s office to record, protect, preserve and reproduce legal documents that relate to real estate and other transactions in Centre County. It’s also our job to collect all the realty transfer taxes and other fees for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and the 38 other political jurisdictions in the county. With a great staff I’ve maintained high standards of reliable, courteous, accurate and effective service. I have also worked with the county commissioners and many other departments and agencies of the county and state governments to make sure that our department is fiscally responsible and totally ethical. I have promoted positive office user relations and maximized public satisfaction by increasing office productivity and efficiency. I have and will continue to explore new and advancing technologies and bring them to the ROD’s office when economically feasible and practical. I will never lose sight of the basic function of government at the county level: public service.

County coroner

Job description: The coroner investigates deaths occurring within the county and certifies the cause of all deaths not properly certified by a licensed physician.

Term: four years

Salary: $59,372 (effective 2008)

One nominated from each party

Scott A. Sayers

Party: Democratic

Address: Milesburg

Did not respond

BELLEFONTE BOROUGH

Borough Council, 1st ward

One seat

Donald L. Holderman

Party: Democratic

Address: Bellefonte

Birth date: Sept. 8, 1959

Occupation: manager, accounting and contracts, Applied Research Laboratory, Penn State

Education: B.S., Penn State; masters of public administration, Penn State

Qualifications: Bellefonte Borough Council, North Ward. My 17 years working in the public sector in an administrative capacity (13 years at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and four years at Penn State), combined with my education, have allowed me opportunities to work on numerous committees (work-related and volunteer organizations), special projects, and to work with special interest groups. My administrative experience is in the following areas: contract administration, budgeting, human resources and safety and health. Finally, a Bellefonte native, husband and father to one daughter, I have a deep-rooted love for Bellefonte and will listen to individual concerns and am committed to working collaboratively to maintain a safe and secure family-friendly community.

Borough Council, 2nd ward

Two seats

Robert C. Taylor

Party: Republican

Did not respond

Vana Dainty

Party: Democratic

Address: Bellefonte

Birth date: Nov. 30, 1948

Education: Some college

Occupation: editor and founder, Bellefonte Gazette

Qualifications: Bellefonte Borough Council, two years, serving as chairman of Finance Committee and Nittany Valley Planning Committee. My job as editor and founder of the Bellefonte Gazette for the last three years.

Bellefonte, 3rd ward

One seat

Frank E. Bud Halderman

Party: Democratic

Address: Bellefonte Borough

Birth date: Jan. 6, 1948

Occupation: retired construction superintendent, mechanical project manager.

Education: Bellefonte Area High School, attended Penn State, ICS courses, borough conferences.Qualifications: Bellefonte Borough councilman, 1980-2007; president of Council; vice president Bellefonte Authority; Pennsylvania State Boroughs Association director representing Clearfield-Centre County Boroughs Association, 2004-07; upper-middle Susquehanna Water Resources Commission, 2004-06; Centre County MPO representative. Historic Bellefonte Inc., other various community entities.

CENTRE HALL

Borough Council

Four seats

Jackie L. Muthersbaugh Sr.

Party: Republican

Did not respond

Greg Yearick

Party: Democratic

Did not respond

Walter E. Yearick

Party: Democratic

Did not respond

Norma Crater

Party: Republican

Did not respond

Ernie Mowery

Party: Republican

Address: Centre Hall Borough

Birth date: May 24, 1944

Occupation: retired

Education: Bellefonte High School, 1962

Qualifications: U.S. citizen, resident of borough for five years.

Answer to question: I believe there needs to be a greater police presence in the borough that will enforce the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code. I would also like to see the revitalization of the village commercial section of the borough.

HOWARD BOROUGH

Borough Council

Three seats

Andrew Kotzur

Party: Democratic

Did not respond

Richard Watters

Party: Republican

Did not respond

Auditor

One seat

Sherry C. Falls

Party: Republican

Did not respond

MILESBURG

Borough Council

Four seats

Paul Bartley

Party: Republican

Did not respond

James G. Reigh

Party: Republican

Did not respond

William R. Allison

Party: Republican

Did not respond

Jim Coder

Party: Democratic

Did not respond

PHILIPSBURG

Borough Council, 1st ward

Two seats

Thomas R. Boyd

Party: Republican

Address: Philipsburg

Birth date: not provided

Occupation: retired teacher, chemistry and physics

Education: B.S., education, B.S., zoology and entomology, M.S., Doctorate of education, 30 credits.

Qualifications: 28 years as borough councilman

Answer to question: Taxes — keep them low (we had no borough tax increase in five years); park monument — council feels that the monument selected should be appropriate for the park; police — Council feels that the state police are doing an excellent job. We also have three ordinance officers.

Dave Brown

Party: Republican

Address: Philipsburg

Birth date: Oct. 30, 1952

Occupation: route sales supervisor

Education: high school diploma

Qualifications: I have lived and worked in the community for 35 years. I also have worked with the youth in our area for 15 years, coaching them in softball, basketball and soccer and supporting high school sports and recreation leagues. My employment as a sales supervisor requires knowledge and ability of running a successful business, which would be useful in helping manage borough finances.

Answer to question: Police protection. We do not need code enforcement officers walking around daily trying to enforce outdated (1937) ordinances on businesses and homeowners or harassing shoppers parking downtown. The money used for their wages could be used for part-time police protection for our citizens and business owners. Once the Streetscape project is complete, the borough needs to maintain a clean downtown area. Snow removal needs to be done in a more timely manner for people to have safe and unobstructed access from vehicles to sidewalks. A study needs to be done on how to make Front Street more vehicle accessible to downtown shoppers in order for the business district to grow. I would like to bring back Cold Stream for families and youth, if economically possible. Established and new businesses need a supportive borough council. The young people of the community need more things to do other than hang out on the streets.

Thomas Ellis

Party: Republican

Address: Philipsburg

Birth date: April 27, 1938

Occupation: Retired elementary teacher, Philipsburg-Osceola School District

Education: B.S., Lock Haven University; M.E., Indiana University of Pennsylvania; elementary principal certificate, Penn StateQualifications: 23 years of service on Philipsburg Borough Council, current president of council; Philipsburg Bicentennial chairman, 1997; past Philipsburg Historical Foundation Board member.

Answer to question: Police protection has been an ongoing issue that has caused concern to some of Philipsburg’s citizens. Police protection is presently being provided by the Pennsylvania state police out of a barracks approximately three miles from Philipsburg. Up to this point, the state police have done an excellent job controlling criminal activity. Based on state police reports, Philipsburg has not experienced an increase in crime since the elimination of the Philipsburg Police Department in April 2004. Whenever an incident has occurred the state police have been quick to respond and have an excellent success rate in solving criminal activity. Currently operating in addition to the state police is an ordinance enforcement program. The program is staffed by three officers who patrol streets enforcing borough ordinances. The program now in effect is helping to keep taxes down and has proved to be more effective in enforcing ordinances and controlling crime than the police department it replaced. Philipsburg, like many small communities, has undergone a dramatic change over the last 30 to 40 years. Business district deterioration is one of the most notable. The Streetscape project in downtown historic Philipsburg is a project that is currently under way. The Streetscape project will serve as a catalyst to re-energize our downtown. The project will halt the further encroachment of blight and will make Philipsburg an even more desirable community in which to live and raise a family.

Borough Council, 2nd ward

One seat

Rita L. Knepp

Party: Democratic

Address: Philipsburg

Birth date: Feb. 19, 1956

Occupation: housewife

Education: 1974 graduate of Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School; 1975 graduate of Meredith Manor with a riding master certificate.

Qualifications: I have been a resident of Philipsburg all my life. I have served on the Philipsburg Borough Council for six years. During this time, I have chaired the Street Committee and Ordinance Committee. I know my town, the residents and what we need to do to afford a better future for us all.

Answer to question: We need to fix the problems of our town in an orderly manner. There are many issues of importance. We need to keep taxes as low as possible. We need to fix our sewer and we need to have an acceptable design for the memorial in South Park. We need to bring back small businesses that have a fighting chance to mature into solid establishments for our town’s future. All these things are needed to develop a fair tax base.

Gary L. Persing

Party: Republican

Did not respond

Borough Council, 3rd ward

Two seats

Shirley A. NelsonParty: Democratic

Address: Philipsburg Borough

Birth date: Feb. 15, 1936

Occupation: Receptionist at Moshannon Valley YMCA

Education: Graduated from former Philipsburg High School

Qualifications: I served four years on Philipsburg Borough Council. I have lived in Philipsburg Borough since 1965 and I am fully aware of our needs, assets and our shortcomings.

Answer to question: The most important issue facing my community is providing a safe, affordable and pleasant place to live and raise our children and do this while keeping taxes at a realistic level. We have to balance a good education for our children, a safe place to live and play with clean and wholesome surroundings. We need to strive to give senior citizens peace of mind so that they will be able to keep their homes. People must be given the opportunity to stay, thrive and prosper in the town where they grew up. It is necessary to work toward these goals in order for our community to grow.

Frederick T. Grauch

Party: Republican

Address: Philipsburg

Birth date: Sept. 6, 1964

Occupation: Machine shop owner

Education: high school diploma

Qualifications: 22 years operating small business; president of small nonprofit organization; accounting skills learned in running a small business. I care.

Answer: The borough of Philipsburg needs to manage itself more like a business. We need to plan for the future while keeping our standard of living up in the present. Fiscal responsibility and providing basic services. A police presence would be a good start. Cutting unnecessary costs and helping to grow the downtown and community businesses. We must encourage people to come to our town and not drive them away. Review and update borough ordinances. Listen to what the town’s people want. We are a great town and deserve great leaders.

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