Most officials believe they won't get equal representation in a single government.



Most officials believe they won't get equal representation in a single government.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
SHARPSVILLE, Pa. -- Borough officials have made it clear where they stand on consolidation with Sharon, Hermitage, Farrell and Wheatland: They don't like the idea.
Borough council is the first elective body to make its feelings known since a group of residents was able to gather enough signatures from voters in the five municipalities last month to put the question of whether the five communities should become a single entity on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Citizens for the Valley, the group that got the petitions signed, plans to launch a public information campaign to show the benefit of consolidation and persuade the public to vote for it.
Won't support it
Sharpsville Councilman Tom Lally, who served on the intergovernmental study committee that spent four years looking at the possibility of a five-municipality consolidation, won't be supporting it. He doesn't think it will work and intends to vote against it, although he said he won't campaign on the issue.
He said he has all the facts and figures gathered by the study committee and is willing to show them to anyone who asks between now and the election.
"It's not going to work for our residents," said Councilman Guy Moderelli, adding that he hasn't seen anything coming out of the study that shows any benefit to Sharpsville.
"I'm inclined to oppose it," said Councilman Jack Cardwell, saying he isn't impressed with the proposed government structure that calls for a nine-member council with each of the current municipalities getting one representative and the other four members being elected at large.
Most of the votes are in Hermitage and Sharon and the four at-large council members would likely come from those communities -- and those areas would get the money to pave streets and make other improvements, he said.
Councilman Alex Kovach said he's seen nothing to make him support a consolidation and feels it would only cost Sharpsville taxpayers more in the long run.
"I'm definitely against consolidation," said Gus Grandy, council president.
Spending in Sharpsville
Sharpsville spends nearly $2 million a year out of its general fund, plus more from grant programs, to provide services and infrastructure upkeep.
If there is a consolidation, he doesn't think that amount of money will still be spent in the borough annually. The larger communities will get the lion's share of the money, he predicted.
Councilwoman Luann Anglin said she also opposes the consolidation idea.
Mayor Kenneth Robertson didn't take a position but said he had always hoped the voters would have the last word on any consolidation effort, and he's pleased the issue is on the ballot.
He intends to hold town meetings in September and October and invite anyone with a position on consolidation to make a presentation at those sessions.
Councilman Bob Piccirilli said he's not a strong advocate of consolidation but is glad the issue is on the ballot. He urged people to learn all they can about the issue before casting their votes.
gwin@vindy.com

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