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Crowded Ballot Expected for East Greenville Primary Election
Written by Bradley Schlegel Staff Writer

        The Primary Election ballot for five seats on East Greenville Borough Council will likely be crowded.

        Incumbents Tracey Hunsinger, Ryan Pugh, Joe Arahill and Jennifer Moran are running for reelection. Mayor Ryan Sloyer is also seeking another term.

        At least four other challengers have emerged for five open seats on council, which includes the one vacated by the resignation Lee Steinert earlier this year.

        East Greenville residents James Raftery, Lon Brinckman II, Angie Fegely and Eric Grubb confirmed that they are collecting the required signatures to get on the ballot. Keith Gerhart is preparing to challenge Sloyer in the Republican primary for mayor.

        The last day for submitting signed petitions to the Montgomery County Board of Elections is March 7.

        Gerhart, a former mayor and council member, decided to run for mayor after elected officials chose to withdraw from the Upper Perk Police Commission in September. He objected to the process of the decision, which was made without any advanced notification to the residents, and following an executive session at the end of a public meeting.

        "What I hope to accomplish is restoring the relationship with Pennsburg Borough, and also keeping the Upper Perk Police Department providing full-time coverage in East Greenville," he wrote. "There are differences of opinion and financial issues to be resolved amongst the three entities. However, the cat and mouse situation taking place currently needs to stop."

        Gerhart argued that the police mediation between both communities should commence immediately. He said officials should "put their petty grievances aside, and get to the table. This should have, and could have, been resolved by now."

        Sloyer, who has been the mayor since 2000, wants to maintain the borough's small-town feel while continuing to make the community affordable for senior citizens to live in and to maintain their homes.

        "We will continue to improve parks and recreation, maintain infrastructure such as roads, public safety and improve the overall quality of life," he wrote. "This can be done while remaining affordable for our citizens."

        East Greenville needs to continue with the creation of our own affordable police department to minimize taxes, according to Sloyer

        "Raising taxes is not the answer, and eliminating parks and recreation is not the answer," he wrote in an email. "We can balance the borough as a whole and provide all of this within our financial means."

        All five of the non-incumbents cited a desire to improve the relationship with neighboring communities. Four of them referenced the situation related to the Upper Perk Police Commission.

        Hunsinger, the current council president, said she is running for reelection to ensure that East Greenville remains a great place to live and raise a family. During her next term, Hunsinger said she hopes to continue to provide local police services, repair and maintain roads and ensure there are recreational facilities for the community with minimal tax increases.

        "I realize that many East Greenville residents are living on fixed income and do not have the means to pay significant tax increases," she wrote. "East Greenville Borough needs to function within its financial means with minimal tax increases. This is why the current council is working on creating a police department that is financially sustainable."

        Pugh said he is running again to utilize the knowledge and experience he has gained over the last seven years to do what is the best interest of the borough and its residents.

        "I would like to work together with the rest of the East Greenville Borough Council to make fiscally responsible decisions, to work with Pennsburg Borough Council to deal with the problems with the Upper Perkiomen Police Commission and to work to keep East Greenville Borough within the Upper Perk Police District," he wrote in an email.

        Moran said that she is running to help East Greenville work things out with Pennsburg so that the community "can come together to better both towns." She also expressed hope that the borough can attract more businesses to the municipality and a willingness to create more recreational options for children.

        "I am a person who likes to be involved and try to help when I can," Moran wrote. "I believe our small town has great potential to be better then what it already is."

        Arahill states that he is running to fulfill a personal sense of civic duty and to make sure East Greenville remains a great place to live.

        He main goals will be to keep costs "as low as possible while ensuring public safety and the best services possible."

        Raftery said the borough's current situation involving the Upper Perk Police District turned his political desires into action. If elected, his top priority would be to make sure East Greenville remains as part of the Upper Perk Police District "for years to come."

        Raftery – who also expressed support for a sustainable, realistic and balanced budget in the borough – said he would like to see the situation resolved in a way that both Pennsburg and East Greenville officials feel that their residents have been properly served and represented.

        "I would like to build relations with Pennsburg that represent the friendship between neighboring boroughs that should be commonplace all across the United States of America," he wrote.

        Fegely, a lifetime resident of the borough, said she realized over the past several months the necessity of community involvement in local government. Her priorities would include erasing the tension between Pennsburg and East Greenville and reopening the lines of communication. 

        "I'm looking forward to working with the current Pennsburg council and mayor to make the Upper Perk Police Department the best it can be," Fegley wrote, adding that both communities need to reorganize the police commission structure to make it productive.

        Grubb, a 20-year borough resident, wants to help rebuild East Greenville's working relationship with Pennsburg and other neighboring municipalities.

        "Having watched it deteriorate for so long, it is time for a wholesale change," he wrote in an email.

        Grubb identified his top two priorities as safety and infrastructure. He believes change is necessary, and is willing to do his part. 

        "If I'm going to voice my opinions and frustration, I better be ready to offer or participate in a solution," he wrote.

        Brinckman is running because he thinks residents deserve better representation than they are currently receiving. He said that there has to be a way for the borough to maintain the Upper Perk Police District and maintain its infrastructure.

        "I can no longer tolerate the divisions that are forming in East Greenville, and the greater fractures forming in the Upper Perkiomen Valley community as a whole," he wrote in an email.  

        His top priorities would be to maintain 24-hour police coverage in the borough, preferably through the current arrangement, and find a solution to the deteriorating infrastructure. However, Brinckman believes solving the latter issue may take serious time "due to the neglect and reallocation of funds over the years."







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