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Williamsport votes Monday

February 27, 1999|By ANDREA ROWLAND

WILLIAMSPORT - Four candidates will vie for three open seats on the Williamsport Town Council in the town's general election on Monday.

Newcomer James G. McCleaf II will challenge incumbents Gloria J. Bitner, James C. Kalbfleisch and Earle R. Pereschuk, Sr., for a council position, a term of which lasts four years, and pays $1,700 annually.

Bitner, McCleaf and Kalbfleisch are running under the Independent Progressive party banner, while Pereschuk is running as an Independent, said Town Clerk Donna K. Spickler.

In Williamsport, the Progressive party parallels the Democratic party, and the Citizens party is the same as the Republican party, she said. Disagreements within the Progressive party several elections ago led to the formation of the Independent Progressive party, added Spickler.

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She said party affiliation is not listed on the ballot.

With seven years experience as a councilwoman, Bitner, of Williamsport, said her greatest strength lies in her ability to listen to the townspeople, and convey their ideas to the Council.

"I will always keep the townspeople and taxpayers in mind, and try to make the best decisions for their money," said Bitner, 53, secretary-receptionist at the main office of AC&T.

The incumbent said she would like to keep taxes at their current rate.

A member of the town's CrimeWatch Committee, Bitner said she is "always willing to help in any way that I can."

One-term incumbent Kalbfleisch, of Williamsport, said he would like to see "continued progress" in the town.

"Over the last four years, we've had a good council," said Kalbfleisch, 53. "We've made Williamsport a nicer place to live, and made it more congenial for businesses to come into town," he said.

Kalbfleisch, area sales manager with Glessner Protective Services, Inc., said the Council has worked to improve the town's appearance, and his duties with the Water and Sewer Department have helped create an efficient system that requires little maintenance.

He said he would like to keep water and sewer rates reasonable, and continue to do "what's best for the town."

"I think I can make a difference," said Williamsport resident McCleaf, 28, general manager at Hopewell Manufacturing, Inc.

Though McCleaf said he has no experience in city government, he said he has attended all Mayor and Town Council meetings during the last year.

A Williamsport High School Alumnus, McCleaf said he loves the town, and would serve as a bridge between the citizens and city government.

"I will listen to the townspeople and bring their ideas to the Council," said McCleaf, who added that, if elected, he would make "common sense decisions."

The only Independent candidate, Pereschuk said he is not a "yes man."

"People have a right to vote for who they want regardless of party affiliation," said Pereschuk.

The maintenance worker with the Washington County Parks and Recreation Department said he is not afraid to voice his opinions within the Council.

In his four years as a councilman, Pereschuk, 46, said he has tried to represent the citizens of Williamsport equally, and said he will continue to "care for them and listen to their concerns" if re-elected.

Pereschuk said he will address such issues as keeping the streets "up to par" and the town clean, as these are the concerns citizens voiced to him while he campaigned door-to-door, he said.

"If somebody in Williamsport has a problem, I'll do my best to solve the problem, or find out the situation," said Pereschuk.

The election will be held Monday, March 1, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Town Hall basement, said Town Clerk Donna K. Spickler.

Williamsport's 1,114 registered voters will next turn-out to the polls in March 2001, when the terms of Mayor John W. Slayman, Asst. Mayor James M. Black, Councilwoman Roxann L. Long and Councilman Walter W. Tracy, Jr., expire, she said.

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