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12 file for Franklin County Commissioners

March 07, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The field of candidates for Franklin County Board of Commissioners in the May 15 primary will be the largest in at least the 12 years since the current board was elected with seven Republican and five Democratic candidates.

A sixth Democrat almost entered the race, but did not have all of the signatures on nominating petitions needed to get on the ballot. At least 100 signatures are needed to appear on the ballot, but Eugene Readout of Shippensburg, Pa., still was waiting for a relative to deliver one of his circulating petitions to the courthouse when the doors closed at 4:30 p.m.

The contest for three seats on the board opened up a few weeks ago when Chairman G. Warren Elliott, a Republican, and Democrat Cheryl Plummer announced they would not be seeking re-election to a fourth term. Commissioner Bob Thomas, a Republican, announced that same day that he would be running for another four years on the board.

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By the deadline at the close of business Tuesday, Thomas had been joined by former Waynesboro (Pa.) Borough Council president Douglas Tengler; Southampton Township Supervisor Samuel F. Cressler; former Chambersburg Borough councilman Carl Helman; computer network consultant David S. Keller; retired federal analyst Carl Barton; and Ben Statler, an employee with the county's maintenance department.

On the Democratic side, the candidates are Waynesboro attorney and former councilman Clint Barkdoll; Mercersburg (Pa.) Mayor James C. Zeger; former Chambersburg School Board president Bob Ziobrowski; businesswoman Cheryl Stearn of St. Thomas Township; and former county Democratic Committee chairman Don Richards.

Two of the candidates work in close proximity, Stearn and her husband own Sunrise Computers, where Keller is employed.

In the primary, Democrats and Republicans can vote for two candidates in their respective primaries. The two Republican and Democratic nominees will run in the November general election with the top three vote-getters being elected.

The May 15 primary ballot will be crowded with candidates for Franklin County, borough, township and school board seats, along with referendums on Act 1 and possibly a chance for voters in some school districts to vote on their budgets.

By Tuesday afternoon's deadline, 98 people had filed nominating petitions for the Republican primary and 54 people to be on Democratic ballots. The actual number of people running, however, is somewhat less, as candidates for school board can file to run in both primaries.

The six school districts in the county have until March 16 to submit referendums to the Election Board for Act 1. The districts are required to place before district voters a ballot question asking if they want to have increased earned income taxes or a personal income tax in exchange for a reduction in real estate taxes for owner-occupied homes and farms.

Some district also might have to place a referendum on the ballot if the proposed 2007-08 budget includes a tax increase above an inflationary index set by the state. Fannett-Metal School District will have to place its budget on the ballot because its proposed increase exceeds the index, school board member Derek Stoy said.

While they cannot vote in the Democratic of Republican primaries, independents can vote on referendums in the primary.

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