Former GOP state senate candidate Julie Wheeler running for York County commissioner
GOP state Senate candidate Julie Wheeler talks about being a first-time candidate and hearing voters' top concerns. David Weissman, 717-505-5431/@DispatchDavid
Local businesswoman and Republican committeewoman Julie Wheeler is running for the York County Board of Commissioners.
Wheeler, who lives in Windsor Township with her husband, is the former general manager of a $300 million medical device business at GE Healthcare. She's the sixth candidate to announce a bid for commissioner, including incumbents Doug Hoke and Chris Reilly.
President Commissioner Susan Byrnes, also a Republican, is not seeking re-election.
Wheeler was born and raised in York County. She said she's been serving the community since she was a Girl Scout, and her first job was folding cardboard boxes at Brown's Orchards and Farm Market in Loganville.
"My desire and passion to serve York County is stronger than ever," Wheeler said. "For me, this endeavor represents a new kind of service, but it's still grounded in my commitment to make York County a great place to live, work and raise a family."
Before turning her attention to the board of commissioners, Wheeler was a GOP state senate candidate running in the 28th district. She lost the Republican primary to opponent Kristin Phillips-Hill, who went on to win the seat formerly held by Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner.
As a commissioner, Wheeler said she'd conduct a detailed overview of each county department to find underutilized assets and then work with department heads to get more out of those resources.
The issues: The York County Planning Commission is developing a proposal for a countywide stormwater authority to address state and federal water-quality mandates related to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and county residents have had mixed reactions.
The authority would collect a base fee of $48.90 per year from every county property owner and potentially higher fees for agricultural and commercial land, though there are credit programs available to reduce the additional burden on farmers and business owners.
Wheeler said York County has made a lot of progress reducing phosphorous and sediment deposits in the stormwater that runs into the Chesapeake Bay and now must focus on nitrogen levels.
"It’s an ongoing issue," she said. "I’ll be watching it, and I’ll continue to go out and meet with people in the community that are impacted by it."
Wheeler said there are lots of great people looking at the issue and that she would look forward to working with the planning commission to address the county's stormwater challenges.
As for the York County 911 center, the commissioners recently approved a $116,800 contract with New Jersey-based IXP Corp. for an operational audit, the third such study in two years.
The center has struggled with staffing and employee retention for the last decade. Wheeler said she wants to learn more about the situation before weighing in.
Speaking generally, the candidate said her business success depended largely on being able to learn and adapt to new information and to make decisions based on facts.
"It’s really important that we listen, collect the data and talk to people that are the experts," she said.