Politics & Government

Municipal races continued

PORT MATILDA

Borough Council

Four seats

Quay Reese

Party: Democratic

Did not respondRichard Turner

Party: Democratic

Did not respond

Deborah R. Breon

Party: Democratic

Address: Port Matilda Borough

Birth date: April 6, 1956

Occupation: retired from the Department of Public Welfare in Centre County

Education: graduated from Bald Eagle Area in 1974

Qualifications: Have been Lions Club secretary in Snow Shoe. Served on Mountain Top Area Municipal Authority Board.

Answer to question: More community involvement is needed with more input from residents. Residents need to be able to go to board members with concerns and questions and receive timely answers.

Sandra P. Neal

Party: Republican

Address: Port Matilda Borough

Birth date: Feb. 13, 1966

Occupation: home-schooling parent of five children, full-time volunteer at PMEMS.

Education: graduate of Lower Merion High School, attended Penn State for two years.

Qualifications: I have served on Port Matilda Borough Council for eight years. I have served in the Partnership, the Intergovernmental Cooperation for Emergency Services, and the Bald Eagle Halfmoon COG. I have been a resident and taxpayer of the Borough of Port Matilda for more than 15 years. I am an advocate of fiscal restraint.

Answer to question: I believe that at the forefront of issues facing the council at this time is maintaining ownership of the borough’s recently upgraded water system. It is also time for the council to address the issue of tenants’ rights and the responsibility of landlords to maintain their properties in the borough.

Steven Kibe

Party: Republican

Did not respond

SNOW SHOE BOROUGH

Borough Council

Four seats

Donald L. Hall

Party: Republican

Did not respond

Sandra L. Reiter

Party: Republican

Did not respond

STATE COLLEGE

Borough Council

Four seats

Ron Madrid

Party: Republican

Address: State College Borough

Birth date: April 16, 1952

Occupation: University administrator — director of Military and Security Programs, Penn State

Education: 1974, B.S. analytical management, United States Naval Academy; 1985, M.S. business, Troy State University

Qualifications: experience with how the borough operates and familiarity with the challenges facing the community; 2003-06, member of the borough’s Historic Resources Commission, two years as chair; 2004 to present, member of the borough Planning Commission, currently chairman; 2005 to present, president of the Holmes-Foster Neighborhood Association. Experience in managing and directing large programs through prudent fiscal resource allocation, generating and articulating requirements while building consensus to solve complex problems. Commitment to maintain and/or improve the quality of life for all residents of the borough.

Answer to question: Council must meet the challenge of minimizing taxes while maintaining (and hopefully) increasing the tax base in order to pay for the goods/ services being provided to the community. Though taxes are necessary, there must be recognition by Council that there are often more efficient alternatives other than always raising taxes.

Charles R. Gable

Party: Republican

Address: State College

E-mail address: gable@ charlesrgable.us

Web site: www.charlesrgable.us

Birth date: Nov. 5, 1969

Education: 1993, Penn State, B.S., meteorology; minor in communication

Occupation: Penn State, environmental services

Qualifications: Planning Commission (vice-chairman), State College Borough, (January 2006 - present); State College Area Chairman of the Centre County Republican Committee (2004 - present); small business owner; event manager, Penn State.

Answer to question: The overall state of the Borough is good at the present time, but challenges are on the horizon. Population growth in the borough has been stagnant. This will lead to a stagnant tax base, while the cost of services increases. The borough should be partners with private and public entities to invest in redeveloping parts of the town core to attract a more diverse population with more full-time, owner-occupied residents. This would include workforce housing. New development in the town core will lead to an increase in the tax base, while limiting or even capping increases in property taxes for home-owners in the borough. Expanding the Commercial Incentive District will help in this endeavor. Downtown State College needs to become a permanent destination point for the Centre Region — attracting visitors who are willing to patronize the borough’s businesses. The reopening of State Theatre is a good first step. The next is to get Fraser Centre built! State College must be proud of all its neighborhoods. The West End, formerly the Urban Village, has been a source of concern for many years. We need to become aggressive with this revitilization effort. We must work with our consultants and the newly formed Redevelopment Authority to get this project moving.

Richard L. Garis

Party: Republican

Occupation: State College police officer (retired), June 15, 1971 to June 30, 1999; patrol officer for 10 years, supervisor for 18 years, commander of the critical/incident/sniper/Cert Team; community-oriented policing coordinator; traffic division supervisor; Centre County Sheriff Department, 6 month period in the fall of 2000; 2000 to present, owner/partner in R. Garis Landscaping.

Education: 1966 graduate, Penns Valley High School; 1972 graduate of the city police academy, Allentown; various course work from Penn State, Lehigh Community College, Northwestern University; supervisory schools at Penn State, Posit, Plex, etc.; hostage negotiation schools, New York Police Department and FBI; critical incident management school, BOWMAC, Inc.; community oriented policing schools, Northwestern University and others; FBI sniper/cert training schools at Fort Dix, N.J.

Qualifications: Served as police liaison to the State College Traffic/Pedestrian Commission; served as police liaison to the College Heights Neighborhood Association; served as the community-oriented police coordinator for the State College Police Department, worked with neighborhood groups in an attempt to solve problems such as noise, traffic, safety, etc; common-sense approach to problem solving and planning.

Answer to question: The Centre Region is one of the fastest growing areas in the state. Borough Council will have to be able to attract new permanent residents as well as new business from this growth and, at the same time, preserve the small-town lifestyle we currently enjoy. I think this can be accomplished through progressive and creative thinking such as case-by-case zoning instead of hard-and-fast regulations that discourage growth. Growth is not a bad thing if it’s managed properly, in fact without growth, either taxes will go up or services will be cut.

Silvi Lawrence

Party: Democratic

Address: State College Borough

Occupation: recently retired as architectural designer, Design and Construction, Office of Physical Plant, Penn State

Education: B.A., Penn State, 1982. Graduate work in community, urban planning and architecture from Pratt Institute, New York City, and Oxford Polytechnic, England.

Qualifications: 13-plus years of community service in State College. Borough Planning Commissioner since 2002; liaison to the Centre Regional Planning Agency’s Land Area Plan Committee; liaison to Urban Village Study steering committee, which is building a coalition between the university and the State College community; past member of the Design Review Board, 1994-2001; past member of the Historic Resources Commission, 1995-2002; present board member of the College Heights Neighborhood Association.

Answer to question: Our challenge is to sustain our vibrant community and quality of life in State College. In order to maintain the character, safety and security of our neighborhoods, we need to preserve our historic districts, maintain high-quality police and fire departments and expand and improve our parks and recreation facilities and transportation network. To support these efforts, we must strengthen our local tax base with new commercial uses, as well as help businesses expand and remain viable in the borough. With a highly competitive housing market but limited land, we need to find new ways to mix owner-occupied, rental and student units near campus while expanding the availability of work-force housing throughout our community. Both the Frazer Street and Urban Village development projects offer great opportunities to revitalize our downtown and add affordable as well as luxury housing and commercial space, but they must not add any additional tax burden. While serving as an architectural designer for Penn State, we incorporated as many green features as possible in all our projects on campus. As a member of the Borough Council, I will encourage State College to incorporate environmentally friendly features into building projects and explore other ways to conserve resources.

Theresa Lafer

Party: Democratic

Address: State College Borough

Birth date: Oct. 26, 1946

Occupation: instructor, history, Penn State

Education: B.A., Simmons College; M.A., State University of New York-Binghamton; M. Ed., Penn State

Qualifications: member of Citizens Block Grant Development Committee, funding public works and human services; ESL programs; PTO president; YMCA camp committee, women’s education; work; teaching, social services, accounting, research, computer and writing skills.

Answer to question: The primary issue for local leaders is maintaining and improving the quality of life for all residents in the borough. State College has a diverse population and the council needs to hear and serve all segments. The borough is a uniquely attractive community in which to live and work. To maintain its desirable qualities through this period of rapid growth and development, the council must continue to plan for the long term, focusing on issues of zoning, neighborhood preservation and enhancement, the availability of affordable housing, downtown development, the provision of quality services and infrastructure upkeep.

Chris Falzone

Party: Democratic

Did not respond

Eric M. Snyder

Party: Democratic

Address: State College Borough

Birth date: Aug. 20, 1969

Occupation: senior research associate, Penn State

Education: Ph.D., chemistry, Penn State; B.S., chemistry, Humboldt State University

Qualifications: 15-year resident of State College Borough, homeowner, dual-career family with two children, member Transportation Commission.

Answer to question: I believe the greatest challenge for the borough of State College is to balance economic growth while protecting the residential neighborhoods. As the borough is already “built out,” we need to grow the income tax base by encouraging more wage earners to live in the borough and increase the property tax base by sensibly increasing the density of the downtown. Both can be best accomplished by allowing for increased building heights in certain areas of the downtown district, while assuring desirable uses such as owner-occupied residential, retail and office spaces. This will also help relieve the pressure for sprawl-type growth in the neighboring townships. Appropriate buffer zones of lower density uses need to be in place between the higher density downtown and the adjacent neighborhoods. I am strongly in favor of the mixed-used Urban Village concept to revitalize that area of the borough. I would like to create more opportunities for affordable housing by increasing support for the State College Community Land Trust and the borough’s First Time Homebuyer and Housing Rehabilitation Assistance Programs.

James L. Rosenberger

Party: Democratic

Address: State College

Birth date: Nov. 15, 1946

Occupation: professor of statistics at Penn State

Education: Ph.D. in biometrics, Cornell University, 1977; M.S., mathematics, Polytechnic University of N.Y., 1972; B.A., mathematics, Eastern Mennonite University, 1968

Qualifications: Borough resident for 30 years, Penn State department head for 15 years, member of Highlands Neighborhood Association.

Answer to question: Important issues for me are maintaining the small-town quality of the community, providing safety for all residents, keeping a strong tax base by maintaining our neighborhoods and encouraging owner-occupied residences, and ensuring a vibrant downtown business climate. The borough should maintain good relationships with the university community and the surrounding municipalities to adequately address the regional issues that arise: zoning, transportation (including biking and pedestrian safety), and taxation. Council needs to foster alliances between the student, business, and and local government entities to address safety and health issues related to smoking and the abuse of alcohol, and the resulting societal costs in related police and emergency medical services. With the immense pride in the State College community exhibited by both students and long term residents, the borough has the potential to become an even greater magnet for new residents and thus pressure for growth. The borough needs to address these pressures with long-range planning and regional cooperation to ensure our community growth is sustainable, with costs and income sources in balance. Providing opportunities for the development of affordable housing for the entire mix of our local work force is a high priority for this community. The State College borough council can play a role in addressing this need, and by providing affordable housing near employment and schools, the costs for transportation infrastructure are reduced.

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