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Borough officials hopie for write-ins

October 30, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

MONT ALTO, Pa. - Nobody's showing up, but they're holding the election anyway.

Three of the seven members of the Mont Alto Borough Council are stepping down at the end of the year but no candidate filed to run for any of the vacant seats, Borough Secretary Patty Kocek said.

Lacking candidates for borough elections is an historic fact in Mont Alto. In 1997, all seven council seats were up for grabs and no one filed. The seats were filled with write-in votes.

A write-in candidate or two could show up at the polls Tuesday - it's a frequent occurrence in Mont Alto elections.

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So far, no one has shown interest in a write-in campaign this year, she said. Council members don't get paid for their services. Terms run for four years.

The three councilmen whose terms run out Dec. 31 are Douglas Duffey, John Flory and Michael Gossard.

Even if no one runs, the borough can still operate with the four existing members because they make a quorum, said Thomas Lowson, long-time incumbent councilman.

"We can run with four, but it's better to have seven," Lowson said.

If it turns out Tuesday that no candidates step forward, then it will be up to the council, initially, to appoint residents to fill the three vacancies, Kocek said.

The council will have 30 days to find three candidates, she said. If it fails, the duty goes to her - as the council's vacancy board's single member and its chairman - to find candidates the council can appoint.

"I'll have to beat the bushes to find somebody," she said. "I don't have anyone in mind at the moment. I'm hoping one or two people will stand by the polls asking for write-ins."

Lowson said it's important for the council to have all its members to deal with the growth expected around the borough in the next 10 to 20 years.

"It's going to affect our infrastructure and storm water management," he said.

Traffic, too, will become an issue as the countryside around the borough gets developed.

The most immediate concern is the five-way intersection where Pa. 997 crosses Pa. 233, Mont Alto Road and Ash Avenue in front of the borough hall, he said.

"It was designed for horses and buggies," Lowson said.

He said the borough is trying to work with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to remedy the problem, he said.

In June, following the May primary, the council was considering cutting its members from seven to five.

The three incumbents whose terms don't expire this year, in addition to Lowson, are Council President P. Edward Nunemaker, Fred Herrington Jr. and James Powell.

Debra Lee is the mayor of Mont Alto, Kocek said.

The borough's polling place has moved from the Youth Center on Main Street to Wesley United Methodist Church on Main Street. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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