Newcomer Rock looks to end Fleagle's tenure in 90th District

May 11, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - State Rep. Patrick E. Fleagle has faced few challenges to his 90th District seat during his nine terms, but Todd Rock of Mont Alto, Pa., is looking to stop Fleagle's run for a 10th term by snatching the Republican nomination in Tuesday's primary election.

The potential for the two to face off in the general election exists if one candidate wins the Republican nomination and the other garners more write-in votes on the Democratic ballot.

The primary comes two weeks after Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives delayed voting on a bill that would have exchanged gambling revenue for property tax cuts favoring senior citizens. That measure had been developed by a bipartisan conference committee.

It wouldn't have translated into significant relief for the majority of taxpayers, Fleagle said.

During an interview last week, he showed a chart that said the average savings in the Waynesboro Area School District would have been a $271 cut to come in several years.


"Obviously, the plan they just came up with was not the answer. It was an attempt right before the election to come up with something to buy back the public," Rock said. "It certainly didn't go far enough."

Fleagle said his "ideal plan" is to completely eliminate property taxes through an expansion of the sales tax.

"We, several months ago, had a vote on that plan, and we only could garner 60 votes, but I still think that there is some viability in completely getting rid of property taxes," Fleagle said.

Fleagle supported a plan to tax food and clothing. Rock said he would be willing to expand the sales tax to more areas, but not to include food and medicine.

"All the studies I've seen (say) that we could reduce property taxes 50 (percent) to 70 percent using that plan," Rock said. "We'll see if the gambling money ever comes. I'm not a proponent of gambling, but if that money's out there, we're going to have to use it for something, and we'll probably incorporate that into property tax reduction also."

n Growth - "We need to control growth, certainly in our part of Pennsylvania, and there's a lot of ways to do that," Rock said.

He lamented municipalities' current inability to turn down development if the developer meets all of the guidelines in zoning and subdivision ordinances, despite the impact on infrastructure.

"We have to have growth, but we can control that growth," Rock said. The state needs to give municipalities the authority to reject development if the schools or water or sewer systems wouldn't be able to adequately handle it, he said.

Fleagle said he is "proud" to join the Franklin County, Pa., legislators and Council of Governments in supporting a measure introduced by state Rep. Stephen Maitland, R-Franklin/Adams.

"It won't stop growth. What it'll do is help pay for the schools and the infrastructure that the growth brings with it," Fleagle said. "One of the reasons that makes this area attractive is the quality of life, and you don't want to kill that by overdeveloping, but then again, you don't want to snuff out the growth that creates jobs."

The developers and municipalities also have to work together, he said.

"Developers are going to have to sacrifice, municipalities are going to have to sacrifice and we're all going to have to come to the table because we're all going to have to live in this area," Fleagle said.

n Government reform - Rock kicked off his campaign last November, and in his public announcement blasted state legislators for voting themselves a pay raise late one night last July at the close of a session.

"We certainly need to reform our legislature," Rock said. "Our government has to be taken care of first and foremost, I really think. People just don't take the legislative body seriously anymore. They really don't after the pay raise and so many things they've found out now about all the perks and things that go along with being a legislator. The fact they only work 77 days out of the year. People are offended by that."

The legislature repealed the raises in the fall.

"We'll probably never see another pay raise like that the rest of my lifetime," Fleagle said. "It was handled poorly. ... I think it was interesting, going door to door, I'd say one out of 50 people, one out of 75 people, really ripped into me about that."

Rock is in favor of term limits of eight to 12 years.

Voters "don't want to elect politicians; they want to elect public servants," Rock said.

"I know people don't like you to be in office a long time, but, I mean, let's face it, it takes you a while to develop that network, knowing where to go, who to talk to get those moneys and get the job done," Fleagle said.

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