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Friday, February 10, 2017

Bill Pekarski: Day 164, Living life on my terms

Bill Pekarski:

Day 164, Living life on my terms.

I realize many people are still having trouble grasping the reality of our last election as well as its results, but a new election season kicks off on Valentine’s Day when candidates can start circulating petitions for signatures. This election season encompasses many local positions that affect all of us.

It takes a special dedication to one’s community to run for local public offices. Some of them have no compensation and others pay only a small sum. They require personal commitment and dedication. Those of us who have never held public office may not realize what an important service these men and women perform.

One of the most important positions to be filled this year is school director. These elected officials who receive no compensation, but are responsible for the education of our children, as well as the complex financial management of a school district, personnel, maintenance and you name it. Decisions are reached in a public setting and some of the issues are complex and seemingly unsolvable. With a sluggish economy, a declining tax base and inadequate state funding, as well as state mandates such as standardized testing, there is never enough money to meet all of the district’s needs while providing the best available education.

All of the school boards have seats opening this year. In Coudersport, it appears that the seats of Joe Lagrua, Jaylin Tezik, Tracy Crosby, and board president Russ Streich are all up for re-election. I’m sure the area news media will have more information and details will be posted on the county website.

Coudersport will be electing a new mayor this year. Brenda Whitman brought some successful new ideas to the job and has decided not to run again when the current term expires in December. She came along after long-time mayor Wick Furman decided he had had enough. Andy Dubots also threw his hat in the ring four years ago and his time may have come this year with the 2017 election.

Seats on the Coudersport Borough Council are up for election and some incumbents whose terms run out this year are considering not running again. Other offices are also being filled in a grassroots election. These are all excellent opportunities for citizens to speak up and take action through a representative role within the community.

Or maybe public office is not for you. That does not mean that you can’t have a say in how your school district and local government are operated. By law, these agencies must conduct their business in public and they’re required to accommodate citizen input.

It is important for people to speak their mind and make those elected officials aware of the general consensus. It is our duty as citizens to hold them accountable and ensure that they are acting in our best interests.

The borough of Coudersport is heading for a very tumultuous time as Penn Dot begins work on Route 6 through the downtown business district. Stores and shops along Main Street will be hampered by customers having a difficult time accessing their businesses through the lengthy planned construction.

Everyone agrees that the road needs to be repaired, but the businesses are definitely worried about their bottom lines. The borough council and the Chamber of Commerce will have to work closely together to navigate through these problems as they affect the businesses and the public in general.

Now is a great time to get involved and help is certainly needed all across the board. By working together, we can accomplish great things, and that can lead to more prosperous days for our community and residents for many years to come.

Today I am dedicating my progress to all of those people who have the drive, determination, and dedication to represent the populous by running for public office. While the tasks may seem great, the rewards can be ever so gratifying.

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