Five candidates are seeking three spots on the council. Those include Republicans Jeffrey Blum and Eric Paules, Democrats Linda Small and Ken Earll, and Larry O'Brien, who ran a write-in campaign under both tickets in the primary. Small and Earll also qualified for the general election ballot through write-in votes.
Paules is the lone incumbent; Blum previously served on the council before moving out of the borough and has now moved back. Councilmen Ed Molinsky and Edward Myers are not seeking re-election.
Jeffrey A. Blum (R)
Address: Bond Street.
Family: Married for 34 years with 2 adult daughters
Education: BS Industrial Engineering, MS Packaging Science and Engineering
Ken Earll (D)
Address: Stoneridge Drive, New Freedom
Family: Married, 2 daughters -- both graduates of Susquehannock
Occupation: Purchasing Manager Reisterstown Lumber
Education: BA Dickinson College
Larry O'Brien (D/R)
Eric Paules (R)
Address: Bailey Avenue
Family: Wife, Karen, three children, Ethan, Brendan, Lauren
Occupation: VP, Crescents Industries Inc.
Education: Susquehannock High School, BS Elizabethtown College
Linda Small (D)
Address: Leader Road, New Freedom
Occupation: Retired U.S. Navy
Education: University of Pennsylvania, BA History
1. If you could make one change to improve the quality of life for residents in New Freedom Borough, what change would you make? Explain your choice.
2. What will your other priorities be if elected as a borough council member? Explain why those are your priorities.
3. New Freedom has a tax rate of 0.91 of a mill. How would you rate the borough's job of controlling costs and its tax rate? Why?
4. New Freedom relies on Southern Regional Police for police coverage. How is that working for the borough? Are residents getting their money's worth? Do you envision the need for changes in the near future?
5. Why did you run for office? Why should people support your candidacy for borough council?
Jeffrey A. Blum (R)
1. Right now, the most important thing is to help keep expenses down in the borough and therefore keep taxes down. New Freedom has many older residents on fixed incomes as well as people who have lost their jobs due to the current economic climate. With costs for food, clothing, shelter, and gasoline going up, the last thing they need is huge increases in costs in the borough services which directly impacts our tax rate.
2. My priorities would be to keep the roads and infrastructure in good repair and working with our recreation council to continue the progress they have made. Well maintained roads help keep our citizens safe whether driving, riding bikes, walking, etc. It is especially important during the winter months keeping them cleared of snow and ice.
In my previous time on council, I had worked very closely with our recreation board to be their voice on borough council. Recreation within the borough limits is important, especially for our younger citizens, being a small rural community.
3. During these economic times, it is important to look for savings everywhere to help keep taxes down. For example, we currently have two trash pickups per week and have a separate bill from the tax bill for trash pickup. Very few residents put out the allowable amount of trash. It might be possible to go to 1 pick up per week and thereby realize a significant savings in the trash bill.
4. I think that police services in the borough are working well although the cost per borough resident is higher than I would like it to be. With that being said, I believe there are ways to rectify that through expansion. The most important way is to bring on additional municipalities in order to spread the costs out for everyone involved. It is also important to monitor the annual budget and make recommendations on where savings may be realized.
5. Prior to moving out of the borough about four years ago, I spent 14-plus years on borough council. I was an advocate for more money for road maintenance, improved recreation programs and equipment, and holding down taxes. I worked closely with the citizens on numerous issues in order to find common ground on which to base decisions by council. I worked closely with the borough staff on recycling programs like the leaf pickup, limb chipping, and household recyclables. After returning to the borough last year, friends asked me to run for council to help continue the progress we have been making.
Ken Earll (D)
1. Encourage the creation of small independent business in New Freedom, retail and manufacturing, to help broaden the tax base and reduce the burden on residents in the borough.
2. Investigate opportunities to work with the other municipalities as a possible way to consolidate and/or combine efforts to save money and improve services for the community.
3. To date, the borough has done a pretty good job of controlling cost. With the housing market remaining depressed, maintaining and improving the services provided by the borough without raising taxes will be one of the biggest challenges for the council.
4. Discussion with New Freedom residents shows that the services they received to date have been adequate. The challenge will be maintaining that service if other boroughs aren't committed to that partnership. The focus needs to be strengthening the relationship with the SRPD and the various boroughs to ensure continued quality.
5. Twenty-five years ago, my family chose to move to New Freedom because of the safe environment, good schools, and the quality of life that we envisioned for our children. Serving on the Strategic Planning Committee for Southern Schools for eight years and my present position as treasurer for the Paul Smith Library has allowed me to see the needs of the community as well as what can be accomplished when the local municipalities work together. As I see the community changing, and the challenges that we are facing, I strongly feel that I can offer an insightful perspective to encourage improvement without diminishing the inherent values that make New Freedom special.
Larry O'Brien (D/R)
Eric Paules (R)
l. One change I'd like to see is a revitalized downtown. There are currently several abandoned properties in the heart of our town that detract from the community. I'd like to see us work with developers, property owners, and potential businesses to restore, reuse, and redevelop these properties. It will take zoning modifications, judicial system support, and some creativity to accomplish this.
2. Additional priorities are to keep taxes as low as possible while providing quality community services. We should continue to revise ordinances that discourage business attraction and add no value. During the last four years, I've worked to improve the borough's website and the information it provides. We can continue to make it better without spending huge sums of taxpayer dollars to do so.
3. With a millage among the lowest quartile in York County, I think our borough has done exceptionally well; especially when you consider the variety of services we provide for those tax dollars. We'll need to continue to practice lean government, fair but firm collections, and sensible development and infrastructure improvements to preserve our community quality of life.
4. The momentum is moving in a positive direction with SRPD. There are good people running the department and the board is working to make positive changes and grow the department. That said, we have some challenges ahead. As I write this, we are preparing the 2012 budget. In 2011, New Freedom's portion of SRPD was $503,000 or 27 percent of the total budget. To balance our 2012 budget we froze borough employee wages, sold assets, and cut funding to road repairs figuring on a police budget increase of 3 percent. It will take sacrifices like these from SRPD's budget and the police union to make the budget work without hitting taxpayers in the wallet. The department must expand revenues via growth and cut costs to deliver maximum value to the taxpayer.
5. I value community service and I want to model the behavior for my three children. I am willing to invest the time it takes to serve as a council member and I have relevant business experience in budgeting, administration, and personnel to contribute. I'd like to build on what I've learned and accomplished during my first term on your council, and I ask for your support on November 8th.
Linda Small (D)
1. Improve New Freedom's air quality. Eliminate "bad air" days when children with asthma and older folks can't go outside because of pollution and high temperatures. York County's air quality consistently is ranked poorly, yet technology is available right now to stop burning stuff which pollutes air for energy. Some companies already use technology to better clean the air coming out of the smokestacks. Other corporations refuse to do so and knowingly emit pollution, harming our health and our economy. Across America, air pollution causes lost school and workdays, sends people to the hospital with breathing or heart problems, and causes needless deaths each year. Much like cigarettes, industry denial of responsibility for the harmful byproducts of burning fuels puts thousands at risk each year. New Freedom residents will benefit from a full court press to move to clean energy production in America.
2. Open, transparent, efficient government which keeps New Freedom residents informed and engaged is my priority. The council should continue to periodically remind residents that meetings are open to the public and that citizens are encouraged to both attend and speak to the council at the meetings. In addition, council should be proactive and contact residents if they will be affected by specific votes affecting their neighborhood. It is very important that council get as much resident input as possible before making decisions and work very hard to reach consensus.
3. New Freedom's council has done a good job controlling costs and keeping its tax rate reasonable. The borough does a good job delivering essential services to taxpayers. The council should continue to strive for the most efficient services at the best value for taxpayers.
4. The Southern Regional Police do a great job and are well worth the money. While the regional concept works to save tax dollars and increase services, I am concerned that Southern can be "outsourced." It must compete with other forces to earn the contract for New Freedom, but protecting New Freedom citizens should not be like a franchise business. Police protection is a special government function which should be strongly rooted in the community. Police officers must be paid well and respected in return for putting themselves on the line for us every day. "Shopping" around for police is disruptive. The stability of police being a permanent part of government and vital partners in the community will pay off in greater value to New Freedom than any pennies saved as forces compete for business.
5. Americans must participate in elections and government for America to succeed. Especially in these crazy political times, people must do what they can to bring back effective, responsible government. New Freedom needs competitive elections to remain a healthy community. I am running to meet my responsibility as a citizen.