Two seats draw four contenders in Landis

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
LANDIS ó Four people are vying to fill two seats on the Landis town board.
The candidates are incumbents James Furr and Craig Sloop, former board member Will Beaver and newcomer Charlene Nolt.
Nolt, 52, is making her first foray into town government, but says she is passionate about helping people.
“I don’t always think politics should always run a town. A person who has lived in this town and knows the people of this town and who has a caring heart can get in here and try to help them,” she said.
In July, she headed up a community yard sale for the town with proceeds benefitting Landis schools, and she wants to organize more community activities.
One of the biggest issues the town faces is having something for people to do, she said.
“We have no recreation for our children or our adults,” Nolt said.
She would like to see more businesses in Landis, she said, as well as the formation of volunteer committees to help the elderly “or anybody who can’t afford repairs and other things done at their home.”
Nolt said she would improve some of the town’s services, such as finding a way to get another police officer on the street at night. She said many citizens are worried that only one officer patrols at night.
Beaver, 83, said the biggest issue facing the town is continuing water and sewer system improvements.
In 2007, when Beaver was in office, residents voted to pursue water/sewer bonds to pay for improvements to the outdated system. The town has yet to begin the major construction for these projects.
“It’s something that should’ve been done a year ago. That’s the most important thing now,” Beaver said.
Beaver said he would like to see the passive historical park come to fruition. The late Frances and D.C. Linn, longtime residents, donated property to the town to create a park.
“We need to get that park completed soon as we can,” he said.
Beaver said he would work to bring new businesses to the downtown business district and thinks the town’s electrical system needs to be expanded and upgraded.
Beaver said people should vote for him because he has served on the board a total of 13 years.
“We need someone in there with a little more experience,” he said.
Sloop, 54, said the biggest issue facing Landis is the economy.
“We have an elderly population that lives on fixed incomes as well as those town residents that were laid off or the companies that they worked for have closed,” he said.
In the face of the layoffs and closings, the board maintained the same tax rate this year, but that forced employees to take unpaid days off to help balance the budget, he pointed out.
The economy has also affected the expansion of town services. Sloop said services are a priority, “but during this struggling economy, we are unable to provide any additional services at this time.”
He said when the economy improves, he hopes the town can consider expanding some services.
Sloop said some good things are happening in Landis, including a passive park and a community building and possible museum at the Linn family’s old hardware store, which the town acquired.
“I know we as a town board cannot always do what every citizen wants done, but we try to listen to everyone’s suggestions,” he said.
Furr, 51, the biggest issues in Landis are quality of life and economic development.
“I want our small town, the Landis traditional values and quality of life to remain constant even through the growth that we will experience,” Furr said.
Furr said he wants to encourage job opportunities for residents by “whatever means available without excessive incentives costing the taxpayers.”
He said he would improve the town’s services by continuing to refine the departments that include fire, law enforcement and public works, “at a constant cost structure despite the economic downturns.”
“I have strived to keep our services without excessive taxation,” Furr said.
Furr has a proven track record of meeting goals during his first term, he said.
Furr said he has introduced several ordinances and proposals to improve the town, including a graffiti ordinance that would require businesses and homeowners to remove graffiti. The board is seeking residents’ suggestions on the ordinance.
He said people should vote for him because he is aware of the time commitment required of the office.