Four candidates are seeking two spots on the Carroll Township board of supervisors in the Nov. 5 election.
The terms of supervisors Paul Walters and Nancy Livingston expire at the end of the year; neither is seeking re-election. The winners of a nine-person primary were Republicans Andy Ritter and Pietro Picciurro and Democrats Deana Weaver and David Holmes.
The York Dispatch posed questions to all of the candidates. Picciurro did not respond to an inquiry about his candidacy.
David J. Holmes (D)
Age and address: 66, of Clemens Drive
Occupation: Retired educator
Education: Highest earned degree: Master's in Education
Community organizations with which you are active: Church serving as: Region 1 Emergency Response Preparedness Coordinator and Child Care Provider for Women's Faith Group
Pietro Picciurro (R)
Age and address:
Community organizations with which you are active:
Andy C. Ritter (R)
Age and address: 42, of Appaloosa Avenue
Family: Wife - Kathy, Children - Ericka Kauffman 16, Addison Ritter - 6
Occupation: Director, Information Technology with Bath Fitter
Education: Northern High School (Class of 1989), York Technical Institute (Associate of Specialized Technology Degree 1991)
Community organizations with which you are active: Currently none
Deana Weaver (D)
Age and address: 53, of Dogwood Lane, Dillsburg
Family: Married 24 years to husband Mark (architect); children are son, Samuel, 18, in first-year law enforcement studies at HACC; daughter, Georgia, 16, a junior, and son, Jackson, 15, a freshman, both attend Northern York County High School, take honors classes and are active in sports.
Occupation: Let's call it a "stay at home mom" who is never home! I hate the terms "housewife" and "homemaker" because it is such a restrictive definition of what any mother does on a daily basis. I am active in community volunteering and am co-founder of Carroll Citizens for Sensible Growth, established in 2003. CCSG has won awards at the local, state and federal levels for roadside and watershed cleanups, collecting over 300 tons of debris over the past 10 years, including the removal of illegal dumpsites in Northern York County, under a Keep PA Beautiful program.
Education: Bachelor's degree in technical design from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
Community organizations with which you are active: Member of Carroll Township's Zoning Hearing Board; member of the newly established Dillsburg Pickle Committee, administering the annual PickleFest (May) and New Year's Eve Pickle Drop events; hall coordinator for the Franklintown Community Fire Co.; ex-oficio board member and on-call volunteer for Dillsburg Youth Baseball; set design volunteer for Northern HS Musical; collaboration as CCSG with state and county officials for roadside and watershed cleanups and trained volunteer for water-quality monitoring for DEP, as needed.
Questions and answers:
1. If you could make one change to improve the quality of life for residents in Carroll Township, what change would you make? Explain your choice.
Holmes: One change would be to have government living within their budgets and showing fiscal responsibilities.
Ritter: This is a difficult question since quality of life can be interpreted differently by each individual resident. My interpretation for quality of life is spending time with my family. To that end, I would like to see more organized family activities in our parks. An example would be to have an evening of star-gazing in Chestnut Park with a local Astronomer. There are many low-cost family activities we could organize for our township family's to enjoy.
Weaver: I would reverse the 1 mill tax increase, imposed at the beginning of 2013. This was an increase based on erroneous information presented through a budget process that perpetuated misinformation to the public.
2. What will your other priorities be if elected as a township supervisor? Explain why those are your priorities.
Holmes: Priorities include promoting sensible commercial growth to provide a revenue stream to the township and school district which would provide tax relief to residential property owners.
Ritter: We must develop a long term strategy that addresses the maintenance of all township property, the rising costs of managing our police department and the need for sensible economic development. I will review the Northern York County Comprehensive Plan in order to gain a better understanding of the regions' goals and objectives for sensible economic growth. My goals are to ultimately reduce the tax burden faced by township residents and to continually plan for today and the future.
Weaver: Township ordinances need close review and some improvements. There are discrepancies between ordinances which open the township to legal entanglements at great cost to the taxpayers. One un-pleasantry is the $700 cost to appear before Carroll's Zoning Hearing Board. This is ridiculous when a resident needs to pay $700 for a $500 improvement to their porch. I'd like to see how we can serve the taxpayer better.
3. Carroll Township has a tax rate of 2.62 mills, a rate that was increased from 1.62 mills for the 2013 budget. How would you rate the township's job of controlling costs and its tax rate? Why?
Holmes: The township needed to show greater fiscal restraint and have less carryover of funds from the previous year. Where are the residents who are retired or on fixed, low, or moderate incomes suppose to get the money to pay for these taxes? As property owners we are held responsible to pay taxes at the whim of municipal governments and school districts. The value of real estate is not an indication of one's wealth, rather it is an indication of our work ethic and savings over many years.
Ritter: The township does a below average job at controlling costs. Why? One example of poor fiscal management and planning is with the Spring Lane Bridge Repair project. The township supervisors received an estimate of approximately $400,000.00 to repair the Spring Lane Bridge. However, after the project was approved, the cost suddenly skyrocketed to more than $950,000.00! This type of activity is unacceptable and will not be approved if I'm elected to the Board of Supervisors.
Weaver: The budget over-inflated expenses and underestimated revenues to drive a "budget crisis" meeting in August of 2012. Yet, $204,000 was carried over in the budget from 2012 to 2013. Corrections should begin at the budget level, and communication with the public should be honest and forthcoming.
4. Carroll Township relies on its own police department for police protection. How would you rate the job the department is doing? Is the township getting its money's worth? Should any changes be explored? Why or why not?
Holmes: The police department is doing a good job with the resources available. As residential development increases, the need for more officers increases.
Ritter: How would you rate the job the department is doing? The police officers do an excellent job at protecting our community and maintaining close relationships with our families. Is the township getting its money's worth? Yes Should any changes be explored? Changes should not be explored at this time. However, changes would be explored if we would lose contracts with our surrounding communities. Why? We currently have sufficient staffing of officers to cover the township and surrounding communities. However, we need to be vigilant with monitoring staffing requirements as our township evolves and our contractual obligations with surrounding communities change.
Weaver: Some supervisors have been very open about not supporting a municipal police department. Some of these individuals were actually appointed to the police committee. This has created a threat to negotiations between Dillsburg and Monaghan communities, with regard to contract funding 2014-2016. One critical aspect for our community is the Route 15 corridor, which introduces criminal traffic from Baltimore to Harrisburg. Carroll's police force is an upstanding, capable unit in need of strong leadership. The anticipated hiring of the next police chief will be critical to future necessary change. The supervisors need to stop micro-managing the police department.
5. Why did you decide to run for township supervisor? Why should people support your candidacy for township supervisor?
Holmes: I read the message on the Township website requesting candidates for the openings on the Carroll Township Board. My wife and I talked it over and decided I would make the commitment to the necessary meetings and time required for this position. That same week, a number of Carroll Township citizens asked me to run for Township Supervisor because of my experience promoting fiscal responsibility when I served on the local school board. I have the time, energy, experience and commitment to dedicate to Board service. I attend meetings as a resident and am aware of issues facing the township. Citizens who want fiscal responsibility and sensible business growth will support my candidacy.
Ritter: Why did you decide to run for township supervisor? I'm concerned for the future of our township and want to take an active role in managing our local government. Why should people support your candidacy for township supervisor? I have been a leader of both volunteers and professionals for over 20 years. I bring over 15 years experience with contract negotiations, budget management, and process automation. My career has provided me the opportunity to successfully lead teams of professionals through many difficult situations and challenging projects. As a business executive, I know how to get the right people together to make positive things happen. As a husband and father, I understand the importance of providing safe neighborhoods for our families. I am a 32 year resident of Dillsburg with the last 8 years being in Carroll Township.
Weaver: I entered the race as a write-in during the primaries, out of a sense of frustration with the current administration. During the budget process, the township manager presented a pie-chart depicting the police budget as 60 percent of the total municipal budget. After researching, I discovered that the police budget only constituted 38 percent of the overall township budget. I'd like to introduce the concept of supervisors who do the leg-work and the research themselves, to serve the best interest of the public, rather than placing so much control onto the township manager. The burden of funding a township manager position, specifically in this time of economic hardship, is questionable.