Departing councilmen say tax base growth vital to borough

December 23, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Growth of the borough's tax base, revitalization of the downtown business district and repairs to long-neglected streets are what's needed most in Waynesboro, said the three borough council members whose terms end this year.

Council President Douglas Tengler and council members Clint Barkdoll and Allen W. Porter did not seek re-election.

The six-member borough council is split into three wards, with two members from each ward. The mayor runs at large.

Barkdoll, 30, represents Ward 1. He was appointed 14 months ago to complete the remaining term of Councilwoman Vicki Jo Huff when she resigned. "It was never my intention to stay beyond the end of the term," Barkdoll said.

He will be succeeded by Dick George.

Councilman Charles "Chip" McCammon also represents Ward 1.

Tengler, 34, from Ward 2, was elected to his four-year term in 1999 and took office Jan. 1, 2000. He has been council president for two years.


Tengler will be succeeded by Jahnathan Cain.

Councilman Ardie Winters also represents Ward 2.

Porter, 84, the longest serving of the three exiting council members, was appointed in 1998 to finish the term of Delmos Oldham, who resigned after being elected borough tax collector. Porter, from Ward 3, was elected to a four-year term in 1999 and took office Jan. 1, 2000.

"I'm getting too old," Porter said. "The borough needs a younger person to take over."

He will be succeeded in January by A.J. Benchoff.

Councilman John Cook also represents Ward 3.

Porter chairs the council's street committee. He said the borough needs to begin spending money on street repairs.

The street committee also corrected a long-neglected practice of not controlling handicapped parking spaces, Porter said.

Until recently, some designated handicapped parking spaces had gone unused for as long as 10 years and still had signs up, he said. The council provides handicapped spaces to residents who prove a need.

"We need to expand the tax base," Barkdoll said. "It's contracting. Local industries are not as large as they were years ago. Our tax collections have been steady but they can't keep up with the borough's growing needs."

Improving the downtown business climate topped Tengler's list.

Tengler said he sees a recent decision by the council to hire a downtown promotions manager as the key to the turnaround. Also needed is a review of ordinances that restrict business, such as the decision earlier this year to allow larger business signs, he said.

"Manufacturing is on the decline in the borough," Tengler said. Land and facilities that are no longer used for manufacturing should be turned into business locations that can provide jobs, he said.

He cited an example of a vacant lot owned by a manufacturing company on South Potomac Street that was bought by a local developer. The developer built space for a law office, title company and glass replacement business.

Porter, Tengler and Barkdoll listed as successes during their tenure:

  • The signing of long-term employment contracts with the police and fire departments.

  • Undertaking a major renovation of the borough's public swimming pool, which resulted in the facility ending up in the black for the first time in 15 years because of increased use and higher fees.

  • Establishing the framework for beginning the revitalization of the downtown.

Their successors will sit for their first council meeting Jan. 5. That's also the day when the council is to elect new officers.

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