A pair of former supervisors will square off in the general election for a single seat on the Shrewsbury Township board.
Earl Schuckman was serving as vice chairman of the board of supervisors when he opted not to seek election in 2009.
Paul Solomon ran for re-election to the board in 2011, but was defeated in a four-way race in which current supervisors Bill Cox and Jeff Rennoll were the victors.
Now Schuckman and Solomon will square off on Nov. 5. Schuckman will be the Democrat on the ballot; Solomon the Republican.
The York Dispatch asked the candidates a series of questions. Those questions and the candidates' responses appear below.
Earl Schuckman (D)
Age and address: 61, of Fissels Church Road
Family: Wife, 2 Sons, 4 Grandchildren
Education: South Hills High School, over 20 yrs of township service.
Paul J. Solomon (R)
Age and address: 76, of Steltz Road
Family: Married with two grown sons and four grandchildren
Occupation: Farm owner/operator, retired municipal planner
Education: Georgetown University, bachelor's degree, history major, philosophy minor; Penn State University, bachelor's degree, College of Agriculture, general agriculture major; and PSU, master's degree, municipal planning.
Community organizations with which you are active: Coached SYC sports; supervised Eagle Scout projects; and assisted the Southern YMCA with tree planting program.
Questions and answers:
1. If you could make one change to improve the quality of life for residents in Shrewsbury Township, what change would you make? Explain your choice.
Schuckman: The change would be to civilize the board of Supervisors and have the board do the will of the citizens. Some on this board are not just uncivil to each other but also to township residents, thus making the governing body look and sound like a board of clowns. Currently you have a person serving on the board who does not live in the township and who loves to manipulate other board members. This person owns no property and pays no taxes to the township. Having people serving on the board who are affected by the consequences of their votes and whose neighbors can hold their feet to the fire is not just a good idea it is the law. While serving in the past as a Supervisor the board would have disagreements, but we were never mean spirited and revengeful. We would resolve our differences at meetings and move on doing township work.
Solomon: Reduce impacts from new development on existing neighborhoods, as well as the community at large. Too often, new developments create traffic congestion, storm water problems and generally lack compatibility with existing subdivisions.
2. What will your other priorities be if elected as a township supervisor? Explain why those are your priorities.
Schuckman: The other priorities would be to maintain the schedule of 8 miles of road maintenance each year; this sets a schedule touching each road every 10 years if needed. Also making sure the residents of the community are served in the most efficient and convenient ways possible. How the township provides services and at what cost must continue to be the number 1 measurement of the health of the township. Another would be a single point where people can go to find the truth about township issues; this would stop people from speaking untruths. (The latest is that a brand new building could have been built for only $300,000) That's just not true.
Solomon: -- Maintain a low real estate tax.
-- Stay debt free.
-- Preserve farmland.
-- Provide high level of basic services including road maintenance, snow removal, trash disposal and parks and open space.
-- Make every effort to promote civility at township meetings.
3. Shrewsbury Township has a tax rate of 0.074 mills. How would you rate the township's job of controlling costs and its tax rate? Why?
Schuckman: Shrewsbury Township has always been tight with the purse strings, when I served on the board previously, we managed to take a bank account of a few hundred dollars and grow it into over a million. This was done without increasing the township real estate tax rate. First we gradually transferred the cost of trash collection back to the township residents and then we put in place a quarter of a mill fire tax to assure the volunteer fire departments have a study flow of money they can count on. When we outgrew the Hametown building we purchased an existing fully furnished building having the potential in a few years of generating rental income for the township. The cost of constructing a smaller building on our land was $1.2 - $1.4 million and the purchased existing building on a separate parcel was under $700,000 and under the market value.
Solomon: Shrewsbury Township has the lowest, or one of the lowest, tax rates in all of York County. The township has done an excellent job over the years in controlling costs by spending on needs -- not wants. I would continue this effort.
4. Shrewsbury Township relies on state police for police protection. Is that sufficient? Should the township explore a local policing option, such as joining a regional police force? Why or why not?
Schuckman: At this time the township is well served by the State Police, as are our neighbors; Codorus, Hopewell and Springfield townships. The policy of previous boards of Supervisors was to allow any development who wanted protection other than the state to gather a petition with over 51 percent of those to be served and the township would form a police district allowing that development to purchase service from an existing police department. In addition the township always had continuous communications with the State police and was kept apprised of crime rates and other statistics concerning the township. Long story short, at this time I don't feel it is necessary to have police coverage other than from the state police.
Solomon: Shrewsbury Township is predominately a rural, agricultural community with a relatively low crime rate. The Pa. State Police have provided an adequate level of service.
As regards contracting with the Southern Regional Police, that option does exist. To that end, if any locale within the township desires to be served by the So. Regional Police, I would be willing to agree to such service provided the cost is borne entirely by the residents of that locale.
5. Why did you decide to run for township supervisor? Why should people support your candidacy for township supervisor?
Schuckman: I decided to run for Supervisor because while sitting in the audience at every meeting over the past 2 years and seeing what was taking place, it really upset me. Previous boards did not always agree on everything but managed to discuss the issues at board meetings without becoming personal and mean spirited to each other. The board needs to enforce rules and regulations amongst themselves prior to making the residents the only ones forced to obey.I don't think the township residents can go wrong voting for either me or my opponent Paul Solomon, who I feel has high moral standards, experience and knowledge that is currently needed in this township. This township needs experience along with high moral standards to fix what ails it.
Solomon: Experienced -- served as Shrewsbury Township supervisor, 2000-2011.
Professional -- Former Head, Environmental Planning, Baltimore County, Md.; former Senior Planner, York County Planning Commission.
Dedicated, caring, responsive, committed and civil.
Shrewsbury Township is my home! As such, I want to do all that is possible to assure that it is a most desirable place to live for this and future generations.