County Democratic candidates ask for more inclusion, less party politics

“Good government is more important than political party,” said Rick Mirabito, Lycoming County Commissioner and candidate in the Nov. 5 general election.

Joining him, Elliott Weiss, a commissioner candidate, who asked voters for consideration in the election at the annual summer picnic of the county’s Democratic Party.

Also speaking was Jeni Nash-Harvey, who is running for prothonotary.

Mirabito said during the primary that Republicans don’t challenge each other in local government. “It’s not good for the community to have a one-party government.”

Mirabito called for live-streaming of meetings, a public accounting of contracts under $10,000 and openness about what the $1.2 million of hotel tax goes to each year.

He criticized the commissioners for removing Linda Sosniak’s name as a consideration for a seat on the planning commission.

Mirabito said a 3-percent reduction of full-time workers was rejected.

Weiss delivered a scathing assessment of Republican commissioners Jack McKernan and Tony Mussare — not in terms of personalities, but as government leaders. Only Mussare and newcomer, Scott Metzger, are running for commissioner.

Weiss said transparency in the county requires a deep dive.

“If you go below the surface, there is nothing there,” he said of the county’s true financial picture. “They’ve outsourced their jobs.”

Weiss warned of a budget deficit each year over the next five years. He said real estate tax collection has dropped as has county population – from 120,000 down to 113,000.

“You have fewer people staying and more leaving,” he said.

Weiss said without the years when natural gas provided an economic boost through impact fees and other means the county financial situation would be “catastrophic.”

Weiss said the commissioners’ answers have been to sell assets but that, he warned, is a dangerous option — because when the proceeds are gone so is the “safety net.”

“Prevent needless spending,” Weiss said. “Do not rent space in the Sharwell building when the lease ends — let’s move.”

Weiss also said all effort must be made to pursue economic development of a 200-acre parcel across from the Lycoming County landfill. He called on efforts to put in water and sewer service there and begin land development plans for the parcel.

He also said the White Deer Golf Course should be reconfigured and have home building sites put on it.

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