Hughesville unlikely to merge voting districts

HUGHESVILLE — Hughesville Borough Council members are “inclined to stay the way we are” in terms of consolidating voting districts as suggested by Lycoming County Voter Services last fall.

Council President Walter Reed started the conversation Monday evening stating he didn’t feel it’d make much of a difference within the borough if its election structure changed.

However, he and other council members agreed they lean toward not making any changes, particularly after Solicitor Ryan Tira advised that at-large voting, meaning the whole community would vote for each of the council seats rather than just those from their respective wards in the borough, would require the addition of a seventh board member.

“Under the borough code, if you abolish all wards, you must have a minimum of seven people on council,” Tira said.

“We have a hard enough time getting six, let alone adding a seventh one,” said Jerry Daugherty, councilman.

“Why fix what’s not broken?” added Brenda Smith, councilwoman.

The county suggested both Hughesville and Jersey Shore consolidate their voting districts down to one and two, respectively, in an effort to make a state mandate to replace all voting machines cheaper as well as to make the election process easier, Forrest Lehman, director of elections, has said. The machines are expected to cost about $10,000 each.

The final decision is up to the boroughs because of the required election changes that would come with consolidation, according to Lehman.

Eliminating wards at the borough level would not necessarily change the way the East Lycoming School Board holds its elections, Tira added.

In another matter, the borough’s Public Works department is considering replacing windows in the borough hall garage.

Matt Deming, borough supervisor, is collecting quotes from various shops. The borough can consider a twin double long window or a fixed window, he said. The twin windows would allow for better ventilation, which would be useful in the hot summer months, but the fixed windows will be cheaper, he said.

“It’s roughly around anywhere from $410 a unit and then the fixed window is $260,” Deming said, adding the borough also has to consider whether it would rather install the windows themselves or pay for installation. One company offered the twin units with installation for $578 each, he said.

Replacement windows were included in this year’s budget, Reed said. The issue will be addressed at the next meeting when more information is available.

In other business, the police department received a $2,000 donation from the American Legion Post 35 that likely will be split evenly between the dog fund and equipment such as body cameras, said Mayor Richard Smith.

The department also won a Municibid auction for 20 storage lockers at a cost of $490, Smith said.

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 in the borough building,

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