Two vie for tax collector in Mercersburg

May 14, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Two candidates are running for tax collector in Mercersburg, the only contested race in Tuesday's primary election.

Republicans Allan D. "Jack" Smith and Sharon "Sherry" Selser, are seeking election to the position that will be left vacant by outgoing tax collector Lynn Stepler.

A retired insurance agent, Smith said he's running for the post because he has the time and business experience to do the job.

"I'm handy for the job," he said.

If elected, Smith said he would work out of his home office at 205 Johnstons Lane.

Smith and his wife, Louise, are Mercersburg natives.

Selser, owner and operator of Selser's Business Service on North Main Street, said collecting taxes would be one more service she could offer the residents of Mercersburg.


"I offer great hours, a great location and it's convenient," said Selser, whose business includes issuing titles, tags, licenses, registrations and other services.

If elected, Selser said one of her plans is to determine whether residents are eligible for property tax or rent rebates. Being opened evenings and Saturdays would be a convenience for residents who work during the day, she said.

Originally from Montoursville, Pa., Selser moved to Mercersburg eight years ago. Her husband, Bill, is a native of the area. She has a son and three step sons.

Mayor Thomas L. Ralston Sr., a Republican, is unopposed in his quest for a second four-year term.

If re-elected, Ralston said he wants to continue making steady improvements to the Mercersburg's police department.

In the last four years, a new police officer was hired under a grant program, hours of weekly police coverage were increased, and a canine program was developed, Ralston said.

"I want the police department to continue to grow as a professional organization that provides a needed service to the community," he said.

Ralston has lived in Mercersburg for more than 40 years. He and his wife, Carol, live on West Seminary Street. They have two children.

Republican Council Chairman Robert R. Brindle said he is running for his sixth term because "the town still faces some big problems."

Brindle listed the borough's sewer project, which includes converting the former Loewengart Tannery site into a municipal waste facility, as one of the plans he'd like to see through to the end. Brindle said he also has some ideas he'd like to propose to legislators to bring in more money to the borough.

A native of the area, Brindle and his wife, Mickey, own Bob and Mickey's department store on North Main Street. The couple have two children.

Seeking his first public office, Roger L. Defibaugh, a Republican, is running unopposed to fill the seat left vacant by Councilman John Pentz, who is not seeking re-election.

Defibaugh, who moved to Mercersburg four years ago, said he's running for the post as a way to get involved in the community.

"What happens at the local level really has a greater effect on people than at the national level," Defibaugh said, adding that he's always been interested in politics.

A native of Bedford County, Pa., Defibaugh has been a police officer for Montgomery County, Md., for 23 years. Prior to that he worked as a metro police officer in Washington, D.C.

He lives with his wife, Cindy, on West Seminary Street. They have six children.

Incumbent Richard A. Rice, a Republican, is running for his second term on Council.

"I just want to see the sewer built," Rice said. "It's a task that was started and I'd like to see it finished."

Rice, who is on the Council's water and sewer committee serving as liaison between the board and the sewer authority, said residents should consider his experience when casting their votes.

A retired federal government employee, Rice moved to Mercersburg in 1988. He and his wife, Carole, live on North Main Street. The couple have two sons and eight grandchildren.

Judith C. Gossert, a Democrat, is running for her second term unopposed.

Originally from Hagerstown, Gossert has lived in Mercersburg for 20 years.

She and her husband, Maurice live on Loudon Road. They have three children and a grandchild.

Gossert could not be reached for comment.

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