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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Hawley Council candidates respond

  • Eight candidates are on the ballot for Hawley Borough Council in the November 5, 2013 election. John B. Roberston Jr. (R), Michele Rojas (R), Ann Monaghan (D), Rev. Martin L. Cox Jr. (D )and Tiffany Rogers (D) are each seeking a four-year term. Voters are asked to pick three. The three with the most votes wins. M...
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  • Eight candidates are on the ballot for Hawley Borough Council in the November 5, 2013 election.
        John B. Roberston Jr. (R), Michele Rojas (R), Ann Monaghan (D), Rev. Martin L. Cox Jr. (D )and Tiffany Rogers (D) are each seeking a four-year term. Voters are asked to pick three. The three with the most votes wins.
       Mary C. Sanders (R), Donald Kyzer (R) and Jill Carletti (D) are each seeking a two-year term; voters are asked to pick two out of the three candidates.
        On October 15, The News Eagle sent a questionnaire to each candidate asking:
    1. Why are you interested in being on Hawley Council and what do you feel you can  contribute? And
    2. What concerns need to be addressed and how do you think this should be done?
       
      Responses received by deadline (October 31) are as follows. No responses were received from Mary Sanders.
    JILL CARLETTI
         1. I am interested in being on Hawley Council because I believe, with hardwork and some new ideas, an increasingly bright future lays ahead of this town and community. Since returning to Hawley after college and working internationally, I have lent my various talents, areas of expertise, and time to projects which have added color and value to our area. These include the sky lantern festival over Lake Wallenpaupack called “Light the Night for Marley’s Mission”, monthly Open Mic Nights, and most recently the Benjamin Moore’s “Main Street Matters” initiative to garner support and viewpoints.
           I know that by utilizing creativity buffered by practicality and a strong, consistent work ethic, we can get things done in the best way possible. Honesty, innovation, practicality and determination are a few of the personal qualities I value; qualities that I believe lend themselves well to this position. I did most of my growing in this town. I know the back-roads, the people, and the businesses here. If elected, I will work hard to make the town I care for most, very proud.
         2. One of my primary concerns is the empty storefronts and sidewalks on our Main Street and adjacent business zones, which negatively impact many aspects of residential life. I realize that many residents share this sentiment. I would like to see incentives for complimentary businesses and shops to move into town and put strategies in place to support their success, without compromising our attractive landscape and healthy environment.
          As a town, we need to know more about the market we have access to. We can do this via data collection and networking about our individual markets, finding crossovers, and times of year when we can put emphasis on our town. As our businesses do better in town, we can begin to fix more roads and infrastructure and pay for the staff necessary to keep us safe and organized as we grow.   
    Page 2 of 6 - REV. MARTIN L. COX, JR.
         1. My desire to be on Borough Council is rooted in my commitment to this community and its ever changing character.  I believe Borough Council is one of the means by which the character and nature of this community can and should be shaped.  I have had years of experience working with people from every walk of life and believe that I can work with both home owners and business persons to shape a more responsive and forward-looking community.  Having lived and worked in Hawley for over 30 years I believe that I have an understanding of where we have been and where we need yet to be heading.  In addition, I believe that I have leadership skills that can be used to bring people together to share a common vision, helping to define who we are and what we can yet be … and that I, like my colleagues, have the patience to see this through.
         2. Some of the concerns are obvious – a shrinking tax base, the need for more business, greater communication between the work of the Borough Council and the community it represents.  Some may not be quite as evident – building better relationships and communications with communities that surround us and with the county as a whole; better use of Borough Council time and energy; bringing more people into the governance process.  
          Ways to address these concerns might entail a greater working relationship between the Council and the business community; modifying the way the Council conducts its business; creating a greater working relationship with surrounding communities and the county; initiating and being more intentional about engaging the community as a whole (going to the community, not expecting the community to show up at a Council meeting) to site a few possibilities. In addition, we need to be truly listening to the concerns and the suggestions from our all in our community and to respond accordingly.  
            This is not an easy task since it might well mean a rethinking of how we do ‘business’ in Hawley, but it is a task that needs to be embraced as we move into the future while honoring our past, thus moving in a ‘new direction.’
    DONALD KYZER
       1. I'm a life-long, third-generation Hawley resident and have worked at Gumble Brothers, Paupack, for 58 years as a home builder and manager of construction. For 22 years I've served on the Hawley Borough Council and have worked hard with my associate council members to secure grants to beautify our town with new sidewalks and street lighting, to renovated the park bandstand, to provide a skateboard rink and new playground equipment and to create Riverside Park.
    Page 3 of 6 -     We refurbished the borough building by adding a new roof and creating office space in the former fire-company garage for the magistrate's court. Rent from her office and from three Shortline buses that park adjacent to the building boosted our budget. Throughout these 22 years, my only interest and concern has been the betterment of Hawley and the well-being of its residents. I have tried to use my experience in construction to facilitate projects and have reached across political party lines to ensure their success.
     2. Right now a major concern is the significant damage to our roads and drainage system caused by Sandy and the Fourth of July flooding. Although funds from FEMA are limited, Council has employed an engineer to assess the drainage problem and come up with a viable long-range plan. Our roads will be repaired by using FEMA funds judiciously and by applying diligently for assorted grant monies.  
    Of course, a constant concern is keeping the tax assessment as low as possible. Council members have proved their commitment in this regard by keeping the town out of debt and by working without salaries several years to balance the budget.
          Finally, Council has to deal with providing and maintaining the town’s police and street vehicles. As in the past, Council will implement careful budgeting and use of grant funds to ensure safe, top-of-the-line service.
    ANN MONAGHAN
         1. I am interested in being on Council because I feel I can contribute to the future success of Hawley.  I have been a full time resident of Hawley Borough for 23 years and prior to that spent summers here as a child.  I have always felt that Hawley was a wonderful place to live and raise a family.
           I feel that the time is right for me to give back to the area for the many years I have enjoyed all that it has to offer, and to help insure these things continue to exist.  I believe that my experience as president of the Wallenpaupack Support Association and member of the PSEA Legislative Committee have provided me with skills that I can put to good use as a member of Borough Council.  The biggest asset anyone brings to the table is the desire to see Hawley thrive and remain a vibrant community that serves both its residents and visitors and I believe that I have that desire.
    2.   The biggest concern that Council faces is one that the present council has been struggling with for a long time and one that has no easy solution.  There is a definite need to increase the tax base in Hawley and bring more business to the downtown area.  I don’t think there is any easy solution or quick fix for this problem.  I am sure that this is an issue that has plagued Council for many years and will most likely continue to do so.  There is no pat answer to this problem and I think that a variety of plans and options would need to be explored.    
    Page 4 of 6 -        I believe that the discussion of a LERTA type program for new businesses looking to come into the area would not be out of the question as would other incentives or enticements, possibly based on significant investment and/or job creation.  Hawley would need to be the place where they want to be located.  I would listen to the current businesses and residents to find out what brought them here, why they stay and how can we use that information to generate investment here.   Nothing can be accomplished overnight and everyone needs to work together to make Hawley the community we all want it to be.
    JOHN (Jack) B. ROBERTSON JR.
    1. Having retired after 39 years in the Exercise Science & Sport Department at the University of Scranton, I was approached and then appointed to the Hawley Borough Council in 2012. I was assigned responsibilities for Streets and Roads in the Borough and appointed to the Hawley Area Authority. I have attempted to establish a good working relationship with both streets and roads and sewer authority personnel and have been impressed by their work ethics and dedication to their jobs. If elected I will continue to maintain an effective relationship with personnel in addressing concerns that have been brought to our attention by residents and the business community. Given the opportunity, I would like to spend more time in the Borough Office and establish better lines of communication with the community and with Palmyra Township- Wayne to proactively address the problems with which we are  faced.
    2. Having experienced flooding conditions as a result of severe storms on December 20, 2012 and June 30, 2013, a major concern and top priority for the Borough is the development of an improved and effective storm water management program. Steps to address this problem have begun with the appointment of Louis J. Cozza of Kiley Associates, LLC as Borough Engineer and the development of a storm water management plan. Additionally, an improved and cooperative relationship has been established with Palmyra Township- Wayne. The Borough is in the process of attempting to establish a cooperative and effective working relationship with the district Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Office in addressing specific concerns in the Borough.
       A second concern is the deteriorated condition, exacerbated by the June 30 storm, of a number of streets in the Borough. Streets & Roads personnel, hampered initially by the non-availability of Borough trucks for a period, have made a number of temporary repairs making the roads passable, but more needs to be done. Aqua PA's recent water main replacement on River Street between Main and Wangum has resulted in an improved road thanks to Entech Engineering and Leeward. Grant funding has led to repaving on Prospect Street between Spruce and Cedar and projects on Garfield Avenue and Welwood Avenue have begun. Application for grants and judicious use of Liquid Fuels money should help to improve the condition of streets in the Borough.
    Page 5 of 6 -    Residents and the business community need to communicate their needs and concerns and hold their elected officials accountable.
    TIFFANY ROGERS
    1.    I am interested in being on Hawley Council for several reasons.
    • When I relocated to the area six years ago, I fell in love with the scenic beauty and small community of Hawley. I want to see our town continue to grow and develop, but maintain the small town charm that initially attracted me to the area.
    • I will bring valid and unique insight to our council from my career path and personal background. I have worked in the Hospitality and Food and Beverage Industries for several years, which sustain our community by providing jobs and attracting visitors (and eventually new residents) to the area. I hold a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Scranton, and also currently teach at Lackawanna College. I am dedicated to lifelong learning and educating others in our community.
    • I have always had a strong commitment to community service and volunteering. Before moving to Hawley, I was an active member of the Lions Club in my hometown. I would like to think that serving on town council will similarly allow me to enact positive changes that benefit our community.
    • I also feel that as a business professional woman in my late twenties, I will provide a new viewpoint to council. I think that it is imperative to have a council comprised of individuals with many different backgrounds and age groups. This diversity will allow us to make wise, informed decisions regarding the future of our community.
    2.    I believe that there are many concerns that need to be addressed by our council, two of which I would like to discuss
    • We need to investigate how we can best bring and sustain new businesses, jobs, and residents to the area. A simple walk down Main Street reveals several empty storefronts, some of which have been unoccupied since my relocation to the area. Council members need to work together to find ways to attract new businesses to the area, as well as how to keep them here. New businesses will lead the way to new jobs, and also more reasons for folks to come to Hawley to visit or reside.
    • Within council, we need to make a strong commitment to working together and hearing all viewpoints. I believe that having a council comprised of many different viewpoints will allow us to better assess issues effecting the community. I believe that our group of council candidates (Marty Cox, Ann Monaghan, Jill Carletti, and myself) is dedicated to making well-informed, positive, community-minded decisions in a timely manner.
    We are dedicated to working together, as a team, with the existing council members to bring about the best decisions for Hawley. I hope that you will join us in this New Direction on November 5th.
    Page 6 of 6 - MICHELE ROJAS
      1.  I am a long-time resident of Hawley, with family going back three generations.  I grew up loving Hawley and would like to see it continue to be a great place and to thrive in the future.  When I first joined Hawley Borough Council, I wanted to “give back” and serve my community, but until I was in the council position, I didn’t truly realize the huge amount of effort required to perform the role well.  I have now spent about two years on council and have worked hard to gain my knowledge and expertise, and to build relationships.  
          I have taken a very active role on council:  working directly with numerous property owners regarding various concerns, collecting and compiling storm damage data, contributing to re-vamping the borough zoning ordinances, opening borough communication with outside agencies to foster collaboration, extensive research for issues that come up at council and streamlining the borough maps archive system, etc.  I currently serve on the Hawley Planning Commission and find that the knowledge acquired there is essential to my council duties.  I know that I can continue to work hard for Hawley and that I have gained the expertise needed to make a difference.
       2.  For me, one of the most pressing issues is our decaying infrastructure and the damage sustained from the June 30th flash flooding event.  Various borough roads, culverts, ditches and subterranean pipes (some 60+ years old and deteriorated) need to be improved so that the integrity of our properties is maintained.  The repairs required nearly exceed Hawley’s tiny total yearly budget of about $330,000.  Taxpayers clearly will not be able to fund the expense, so we need to work diligently to find ways to fix the problem without undue burden to the public.  
        That means earnest, hard work is needed to obtain grants, funding, incentives and to create a long-term storm water management plan.  Great news for the borough is that we will receive some F.E.M.A aid for public works, so we need to use this help in a focused, resourceful way to get the most benefits we can for Hawley.  My fellow party candidates (Robertson, Sanders and Kyzer) and I have put in countless hours with council toward obtaining this federal funding and I would like to continue working to fruition during this critical time for the Borough.
         Another concern is continued funding for Hawley during hard economic times.  We need to be fair and consistent in how this is done and find workable solutions that do not burden unjustly.  We need to continue conserving resources while finding new ones.
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