Meyersdale Borough Council candidates split on sewer problem - Our Town: Somerset

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Meyersdale Borough Council candidates split on sewer problem

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Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 12:00 am

That dissolution is on hold while the borough's engineers seek an alternative to an estimated $20 million Department of Environmetal Protection-mandated sewer plant. That plan could raise sewer bills to $100 per month.

Residents formed a watch group to fight the dissolution. Three members of the group are running with similar goals.

Jeff Irwin, 59, Andrea Hoover, 31, and Mardiann Vincent, 55, are all running as Republicans.

"We feel that as a team we can really make a difference pushing Meyersdale in a positive, forward direction," Irwin said.

He is a dentist who has owned his own practice in the borough for about 34 years.

Irwin said the group has a plan for the authority and sewer system if elected. The first step is rescinding the dissolution to dissolve the authority. Second, he said, they plan to hold a town hall meeting with all involved parties represented.

"It would be an informative session. We would listen to the ideas of the community and their needs," he said.

The third step is to request adding two Summit Township representatives to the authority. The two systems are intertwined because some township residents are hooked up to the Meyersdale sewer system. The township owns and maintains the lines, but the authority collects the sewer bills.

"We need ideas and input from Summit Township because they deserve to be heard and they deserve to be represented," he said.

Hoover also owns a business in the borough, Morguen Toole Co.

She said the most important part of representing residents on council is listening to their needs and following through.

"The only way to make a business grow or to make a town grow is to listen to the needs people have and to do something about it," she said.

Vincent is the third watch group representative. She is also the president of Parks and Recreation. She worked for the state for 33 years, including 17 years managing the State Correctional Institution at Laurel Highlands.

She said she resolved a major DEP violation at the prison involving the smokestack. Vincent said she enjoys the challenge of solving complicated problems.

"I like to think outside of the box and come up with creative ways to make things work," she said.

Terry Baker, 47, is running as a Democrat. He has worked for the municipal authority for 17 years.

His goals are to keep taxes and utility bills low.

"I really don't think the residents can afford much more on taxes and on the water and sewer bill," he said.

He said he is in favor of keeping the authority together.

"I think the authority is doing a good job, and I'd like to see it stay the way it is," he said.

He has been a Meyersdale firefighter for 27 years.

Bill Curran, 70, is the Republican incumbent.

He said he does not fully agree with either side on the sewer debate.

"I'm an environmentalist," he said. "I don't think anybody is really focusing on solving the pollution problem."

He was the township sewage enforcement officer for five years. He owns his own business as a development surveyor.

His said his biggest accomplishment in his 3 1/2 years on council is reorganizing the police department and combating drugs. Multiple drug raids were orchestrated this year.

He is also a commander of the Meyersdale American Legion.

Three seats are up for election. The primary is May 21.

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