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Trafford voters will select four borough council members from a crop of seven candidates in the Nov. 3 general election.
Incumbents Kris Cardiff and Dennis Hockenberry are facing challenges from Stephen Kutz, Cory DelSignore and Carol Morrow for four-year terms.
Mike Mellon — who was appointed to council last year — faces a challenge from former councilman John Daykon for the two-year term.
Cardiff, Mellon and DelSignore are Republicans. Hockenberry, Daykon and Kutz are Democrats.
Morrow is a registered independent who earned a spot on both the Democratic and Republican ballots by virtue of a write-in campaign in the primary election.
THOSE SEEKING FOUR-YEAR TERMS
The candidates for the four-year terms are focused on borough finances.
Cardiff, 38, said he wants the borough to perform an inventory and determine how it can save money for taxpayers.
“Let’s see what we own, what equipment we own, what supplies we own that we don’t need and sell it. Get some pricing on it — some appraisals — and get rid of it,” he said.
He said the stability that has come with the hiring of borough manager Rich Sahar earlier this year has helped officials get a better sense of their budget.
“We haven’t had anybody there long enough or with enough hair to pull out to straighten out this budget, and he’s done a pretty good job of this,” said Cardiff, who works for Aviall in aircraft parts and supplies sales.
Cardiff is seeking his second term in office. He said he wants to make borough financial records available for public review via the borough website. He said he also wants to generate more revenue from the borough-owned Manchester Room banquet hall.
Hockenberry, 64, said he wants to build upon the momentum the current council has. He said the group has worked to improve relations with business owners and community groups.
“It just seems like we’re moving in the right direction, and I’d like to stay on to help those guys do that,” said Hockenberry, a retired police officer who was appointed to council last year to fill the vacancy created by Daykon’s resignation.
Improving the borough’s finances and effectively managing borough employees will continue to be a big issue in coming years, Hockenberry said.
“We need to get things up and running more efficiently,” he said.
Keeping things running smoothly can help the town as it keeps its costs low, he said.
“Money is money. We’re not going to be able to find money out of thin air, but if we can cut some costs and try to keep the employees happy, I think it will be a better town,” Hockenberry said.
The four challengers running in the election are campaigning together.
Kutz, 44, said he, DelSignore, Morrow and Daykon want to take a close look at the borough’s financial state and then determine how best to move forward for the residents. He said there is a lack of information and the borough’s deficits don’t appear to be getting tackled.
“We don’t feel we have real clear information,” Kutz said.
Kutz, a construction manager with WSP/Parsons Brinkerhoff, said improving recreation and providing more activities for residents also should be a focus.
“We have a lot of working families in Trafford, and our focus is going to be on seeing what we can do to help those working families succeed,” Kutz said.
DelSignore, 39, works in finance and accounting. He said his background would help the borough get through difficult financial times. He said the borough needs to better generate revenue from the Manchester Room.
“We need to learn how to manage that better to make it an asset,” DelSignore said.
He also said borough officials need to work harder on redevelopment, which could improve borough finances.
“We have some dilapidated buildings that we need to do something with,” he said.
Morrow, 43, said she is not a fan of the current group of council members and would like to see the town run better. She said she has heard from people in the community who are concerned about how the community is being managed.
“I just want to be more involved in helping our neighbors with all these concerns,” Morrow said.
Morrow, customer service supervisor at Wabtec, said she’d like to see public safety, especially on Cavitt Avenue, improved. She also wants to see more commercial growth in the community.
“We definitely need to see an increase in growth in our businesses,” Morrow said.
Morrow agreed that the public needs more information on the borough’s finances.
“We really have no idea where all the money is going,” Morrow said.
THOSE SEEKING THE TWO-YEAR SEAT
Daykon, 38, said residents encouraged him to return to council. He chose to seek the two-year seat to give himself a deadline for enacting change in the borough.
“I’m hoping that in two years we can turn things around,” Daykon said.
The financial state of the borough is the key issue for Daykon. The former head of the borough’s finance committee, he said more information should be presented to the public on how money is being spent.
Daykon was appointed to council in 2010 and elected to council the next year. After rescinding a 2012 resignation that was made during a contentious borough council meeting, he resigned his position in October 2014 because the borough meeting schedule conflicted with his adjunct teaching schedule at Penn State Greater Allegheny.
Daykon said the borough had a solid reserve fund balance and a steady flow of grant funds during his time on council.
“I felt I left things in a very stable situation,” Daykon, a senior consultant with SAP, said.
Daykon said council needs to be more involved in the community than it currently is.
“Being a councilman or councilwoman doesn’t mean showing up once a month for meetings, being handed a piece of paper and reading a report,” Daykon said. “You have to be involved.”
Mellon, 30, said he wants to finish the term he was appointed to last year. He said the current group on council has made things better with the hiring of Sahar and by joining the Westmoreland County Land Bank and marketing the Manchester Room.
“I believe that the progress we have made in the past year has turned the town in the right direction and changed the culture of borough administration for years to come,” Mellon said.
Mellon, a systems analyst with UPMC, said he wants to research funding opportunities for borough infrastructure and eliminate unnecessary spending.
He said he also wants to see continued work on the borough website.
“It will be used as an asset to market our parks, events, organizations and historic neighborhoods to residents within the surrounding communities as well,” he said.
Tom McGee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourpenntrafford/yourpenntraffordmore/9289178-74/borough-council-daykon#ixzz3qRe0WoHx
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