Two candidates are seeking a single seat on the Hellam Township Board of Supervisors in the Nov. 5 general election.
Martin Reed, a Democrat, is the incumbent and serves on the township's parks and open space committee.
Galen Weibley, a Republican, is challenging him for that seat.
The York Dispatch posed a series of questions to the candidates. Those questions and the candidates' responses appear below.
Martin Reed (D)
Age and address:
Occupation: Retired from a career in metals sales
Education: Penn State graduate B.S. Marketing/Management degree
Community organizations with which you are active: Horn Farm Agricultural Center, Hellam Twp. Master Park Committee, and Hellam Twp. Parks & Open Space Committee
Galen Lowell Weibley (R)
Age and address: 22, of Tower Road
Family: Parents: Kent and Kimberly. Brothers: Kent (twin) and Hunter
Occupation: Tax Examiner with PA Department of Revenue, Deli Associate at GIANT Food Stores Manchester
Education: B.S. Degree in Horticulture Science and minor in Policy Studies from Delaware Valley College
Community Organizations with which you are active: York County Republican Club, St Paul's Episcopal Church, Canadochly Evangelical and Reformed Church, FFA White Rose Chapter President (High school), Habitat for Humanity (High school), Strategic Planning Committee for Student involvement (College), Curriculum Advisory Committee (High school), Nixon Park Nature Center (Volunteer and Event Assistant), Boy Scout with Troop 49 and Future Leaders of York (Graduate and Alumni).
Questions and answers:
1. If you could make one change to improve the quality of life for residents in Hellam Township, what change would you make? Explain your choice.
Reed: Continue to preserve the rural character and enhance the recreational opportunities including the further development of a linear park adjacent to the Barshinger Athletic Fields, and work for achievement of a river park for boating and fishing access.
Weibley: One change I would like to make to help improve the quality of life in the township is to assist residents in granting exceptions to ordinances that hinder residents in improving their property. Some ordinances are not based off sound science and instead are based on emotional value judgements. I will grant exceptions if an ordinance is not based off sound science and is not a state law. This will allow homeowners to improve their properties monetary and aesthetic value to the Eastern York Community.
2. What will your other priorities be if elected as a township supervisor? Explain why those are your priorities.
Reed: Maintain fiscal conservatism while continuing to provide superior emergency services including 2 professional volunteer fire companies, ambulance service, our own police force and an emergency management command center. The future of volunteer fire services is becoming increasingly tenuous. Hellam Twp. continues to provide financial support to maintain these services while maintaining a balanced budget.
Weibley: My other priorities would be to encourage balanced smart growth in the township. For the past decade, the Board has focused their priority on no growth, which is financially irresponsible. Each year, the purchasing power of the tax revenue received for the township becomes lower, since the inflation of the US dollar does not stay equal with what we as residents earn a year. Allowing some small controlled business growth in the township provides extra tax revenue to our schools and township, which is a win-win for everyone. I believe we have a great township in York County that is why I plan to limit the growth to preserve the rural character of our township. My other goal is to increase the communication between municipalities within the region, so that we can address problems in the quality of air, water and land on the local level.
3. Hellam Township has a tax rate of 1.8 mills. How would you rate the township's job of controlling costs and its tax rate? Why?
Reed: Considering the services provided to Hellam Twp. residents, I feel that our 1.8 mill tax (which includes a .3 mill fire tax) is very fair. We have not had a tax increase since 2004, and our current tax rate is actually lower than it was in 2001.
Weibley: I believe the township is doing a fair job controlling costs and the tax rate. The Board I believe is losing sight of the future finances of the township by not allowing businesses into the township whatsoever. Instead of spending our time and money in other municipalities' affairs in how they zone their land, we should be focused on how we plan on paying the bills as inflation rises higher than the tax revenue received from our residents.
4. Hellam Township has its own police department. How would you rate the job the police department is doing? Should the township explore other policing options? Why or why not?
Reed: Hellam Township's 8-person police department is one of the finest anywhere, utilizing innovative community policing techniques, interacting with the residents to keep the Township safe from crime. We have explored regional policing options; however, they offered no cost savings and far less coverage.
Weibley: I am proud of our police department and believe the direction Chief Sowers is taking the department in more community outreach and professionalism is just what Hellam needs. After touring the police department in April, I cannot go beyond words at how professional, courteous and friendly our police officers are and hope that our department can be the model of other municipalities in the region. I do not believe Hellam should look for other policing options, since we are providing a low cost highly efficient and professional police department to our residents.
5. Why did you decide to run for township supervisor? Why should people support your candidacy for township supervisor?
Reed: To continue with the initiatives I have been involved in as a current Board Member. I have 12 years of experience as a Supervisor in Hellam Twp., and remain committed to serving the residents of this fine municipality.
Weibley: I decided to run for Hellam Township Supervisor because I lived here all my life and would like to serve my community to make it a better place for all. People should support my campaign because I plan to bring fresh ideas and fresh leadership to a Board. I will be fiscally conservative with the residents' hard earned dollars and always look forward to listening to the residents' concerns and improvement ideas for the township. I assure the voters of Hellam Township that supporting for me will bring rational and an understanding voice to their Board, who will represent their interests.