New Salem Borough Council
Five candidates are running for three seats on the New Salem Borough Council in the 2015 Primary election on Tuesday, May 19.
The York Dispatch asked them to answer three questions and provide basic bio information to help voters with their selection.
Their responses are:
Keith Bortner (R)
Age/Family: I am 34 years old. I have been married nine years to my wife Andrea and we have one daughter, Madison.
Occupation: I have been employed for 10 years as a Network Support Specialist for Central York School District.
Education: Associate in Specialized Business Degree from York Technical Institute
Community organizations with which you are active: N/A
Monica Kemp (D)
Pete Partridge (R)
Age/Family: 74 years old, wife Elizabeth, 3 adult sons living in Maryland, 1 adult daughter living in Massachusetts, 5 grandchildren ages 6 months to almost 5 years.
Occupation: Retired program manager for Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where I managed space science programs; 2 years military service in the Army as an officer in Air Defense Artillery; taught graduate courses in project management for 13 years in the Johns Hopkins Evening College.
Education: BS in Physics from Virginia Tech, MS in Applied Physics from Johns Hopkins
Active Community Service: President of Sherwood Forest II Homeowners' Association.
Prior Community Service: President of HOA in Durham NC; Junior Warden in my church; Vestry Member in my church
Vicki M. Rohrbaugh (R)
Joseph A. Shubert (R)
Age/Family: 50/wife and 3 children
Occupation: Machinist Supervisor
Education: 12th grade graduate from York County School Of Technology
Community organizations with which you are active: Volunteer Firefighter for York New Salem Fire Company, Emergency Medical Responder for Tri-Community Ambulance, Regular attendee at Saint Jacobs UCC Church in York New Salem
Questions and answers
1. How would you rate the borough's performance at keeping taxes (especially property taxes) affordable for residents while providing adequate services? Why?
Bortner: While it would always be nice to have lower taxes, I feel the local municipal tax in New Salem is reasonable. At 0.850 ML, it is lower than many of the townships and boroughs in York County. Some of the main services the borough provides are Police and Fire protection, as well as street maintenance. We receive police protection from The West Manchester Township Police Department and fire service by York New Salem Community Fire Company No. 1. I feel that both the fire dept. and the police dept. do a great job keeping our community safe. Our borough streets are clean and well-maintained. Overall, I feel the borough has done a good job of keeping our taxes reasonable for the level of service we receive.
Partridge: Very Good. I have lived in the borough for five and a half years and have heard no complaints with regard to taxes and services nor have any myself.
Shubert: We have been able to balance the budget very well in order to not raise taxes for the last 9 years.
2. Other than holding down costs, what would be your top priorities if elected to borough council (or to another term to borough council)?
Bortner: I have two priorities if I'm elected. My first priority would be to treat everyone with respect and compassion. I'm sure it's easy for the council to get bogged down by complaints; however, I feel it is important that everyone feels like they can come before the council and be heard and treated with respect. My second priority would be to improve communication with the borough residents. The borough uses its website and its newsletter as its main means of communication. However, I feel both could do a better job of keeping residents informed. To me, the newsletter format has a negative feel. I'd like to see some highlights they have taken action on and any upcoming issues. As far as the website is concerned, I'd like to see a section highlighting current issues. The meeting minutes are posted on the borough website; however, the minutes aren't posted until approved at the following month's meeting. This means a month will go by before you can see what business was acted on at a meeting. I have heard many times at meetings that residents didn't know about something until long after it occurred. These would be my priorities if I'm elected.
Partridge: Improving transparency and communications with residents, sustaining a professional and collegial working relationship within the council and borough administration, and encouraging and developing new leaders for current and future community service.
Shubert: I would like to see our community grow closer. I would like to see people become more active in their community by attending borough council meetings, volunteering at the fire company or local church, joining the Lions Club, etc.
3. Why did you decide to run for borough council? Why should people support your candidacy?
Bortner: I am running for borough council because it's time for change. I feel the council would benefit from new members and fresh ideas. I want to serve my community and do what is best for all the residents of New Salem Borough. If I am successful in my candidacy, I will listen to all sides and make decisions based on what I feel the majority of the residents want and what best meets the needs of our community.
Partridge: I strongly believe that democracy relies on honest and able citizens willing to serve their communities. I believe that I have professional and life skills that I can use to serve my community well and, being retired, I have the time and energy to do so. I have no agenda other than to find out what needs to be done to fulfill the borough's responsibilities to its residents, and then, how we as a council working through the legislative process can get it done in the most effective and least expensive way.
Shubert: I have lived in the older part of the borough all my life. I have been active on borough council since 2000. I was active on the committee for our very first and successful "New Salem Night Out." I listen to people and try to make the best decision for our community.