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New members will sit on Borough Council

November 03, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - There will be two new faces on the Chambersburg Borough Council after voters Tuesday elected Scott Thomas in the Third Ward and Sharon Bigler in the Fourth Ward.

Thomas, 36, of 422 S. Main St., easily defeated Democratic nominee Kris Burget, 40, of 331 S. Main St., with 70 perecent of the vote, 209 to 73.

An explosives expert with the Charles E. Brake Co., Thomas is a registered Democrat but won the GOP nomination with a write-in campaign in May's primary.

He will replace the Rev. W. Larry Johnson, whose term expires at the end of the year.

"I'm really surprised at all the help I got this week ... I'm overwhelmed right now," said Thomas. "I hope to be the people's voice."

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Thomas said the Third Ward is the most culturally diverse in the borough and he hopes to bring together blacks, whites and Hispanics. He said the ward has an image of being a place where people cannot walk safely at night. "I want to change that image," he said.

Pennsylvania state Police recently charged Johnson with having sexual contact with and bringing money to inmates in the prison, but Thomas said Johnson did a lot of good for the community.

"I don't believe in kicking a man when he's down, and this man was here for our community when the Third Ward was down," Thomas said.

Bigler, 49, of 359 High St., defeated incumbent Fourth Ward Councilman James C. Goetz, 49, of 525 Resevoir St., 275 to 171. Goetz had been appointed to the board in June after Councilman Kevin Tanger moved from the borough.

"I'm excited and looking forward to serving the community. ... There's a lot to learn," said Bigler, a Democrat. She said her first priority will be "to find out what the people want."

As a council member, the volunteer paramedic said she will push issues of public safety, aging streets and "better management of taxpayers' money."

"It's been an honor to serve (as a paramedic). I enjoyed my time," Goetz said.

Voters re-elected First Ward Councilman William F. McLaughlin to a third term over Democratic nominee Garey L. Hawbaker, 378 to 284.

"I'm looking forward to going back to work and finishing the projects we've been working on the past few years," said McLaughlin, 50, of 1306 Edgar Ave. Those include downtown revitalization "and to lobby the state Legislature for meaningful tax reform."

McLaughlin said that means a municipal services tax "paid by everyone employed in the borough to offset the cost of municipal services the borough provides to make the jobs possible." McLaughlin said many of the people who work in the borough live outside its boundraries.

"I feel I got my points out there and I hope they evolve into a better quality of life for the First Ward," said Hawbkaer, 32, of P.O. Box 1096. He had said he wanted improved utilities and roads for the borough and plan for dealing with traffic from a proposed Exit 7 off Interstate 81.

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