City voters approve 2 questions

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette David Allen of the Lycoming County Maintenance Department drops off vote cards Tuesday night at the Lycoming County Voter Services office between Third and Church streets.

The voters spoke in Williamsport at the polls Tuesday, with the unofficial results indicating approval for the charter commission and a government study commission looking at home rule.

Both of these can potentially — but not necessarily — impact whether the city voters decide to preserve the strong-mayor and council form of city government. The next mayor general election is in 2019.

Nine people filed papers to appear on the ballot for charter commissioner, while six others were on the ballot for a government study commission looking into home rule, along with write-in candidates.

On the charter question, 2,187 voted, yes, or for the referendum and 1,177 voted no, or were against the referendum.

The question asked: “Shall a charter commission of seven members be elected to study the charter and form of government of the City of Williamsport and to consider a new charter and to make recommendations thereon?”

For the home rule charter, 1,940 voters cast “yes” votes and 1,355 said “no” to the following question: “Shall a government study commission of seven members be elected to study the existing form of government of the City of Williamsport, to consider the advisability of the adoption of a home rule charter and, if advisable, to draft and to recommend a home rule charter?”

The candidates for charter commissioner in order they finished were: Fred A. Holland, of 656 Krouse Ave., 1,748; Gerry Fausnaught, of 1508 Elmira St., 1,672; Patrick Marty, of 928 Campbell St. 1,543; Tony Nardi, of 831 Rural Ave. 1,538; Steven M. Shope, of 608 Hawthorne Ave. 1,352; David Stone, of 981 First Ave. 1,350; Howard L. Biichle Jr., of 1315 Sherman St. 889. Rounding out the candidates of those not voted in were Stiles Miller, 812; Thomas L. Forquer, 712, and write-ins, 188, according to unofficial election results.

On the ballot for government study commissioner were: Matilda R. Noviello, of 363 Union Ave. 1,826; Jennifer B. Ayers, of 750 Belmont Ave. 1,478; Alison D. Hirsch, of 423 Rural Ave. 1,449; Margaret A. Tupper, of 810 Arch St. 1,391; Ralph M. Stephens, of 99 Parkwood St. 1,189; Ardis J.P. Mason, of 1716 Memorial Ave. 1,128; and write-ins 290, according to unofficial election results.

The total vote count for the optional charter was 3,364 and for the home rule question was 3,295, unofficial election results stated.

Total number of votes for charter commissioner was 11,806 and for government study commissioner was 8,751.

The next step for the commissions is to meet and come up with proposed budgets to present to council for approval.

The commissioners are unpaid, but they will have expenses for their meetings and town halls and materials to hand out to voters. There can also be travel expenses to visit other municipalities.

Each commission is obligated to hold public meetings, to gather input, present a draft, and present a final conclusion.