Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fayette County business as usual? Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport (KVVS), Connellsville, Pennsylvania

By The Tribune-Review

Published: Friday, April 18, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

These Fayette issues are getting the attention of the public. Here is my perspective as your county commissioner.

• Referendum for ballot question: Once the petitions bearing the 3,700 signatures were filed at the election bureau, the Pennsylvania Referendum Handbook, Pennsylvania Sunshine Law, court cases and our own unanimously approved August 2012 resolutions mandated an election board hearing. Deliberations of the election board in accepting or rejecting petitions are subject to the requirements of the Sunshine Law and must be conducted at a public meeting. That's the law. I followed our commissioner-approved resolutions and the law by calling for an election board hearing, but fellow commissioners refused. It is now up to the referendum group or any interested party to take legal action if they believe their rights were infringed.

• Fellow commissioners complain about lengthy meetings so restricting public comment is being proposed: When you attempt to slide a $1.25 million land purchase by the taxpayers by giving minimal public notice and conducting the meeting at 8:30 a.m. in a small conference room, forcing citizens to stand in the hallway, should we really expect a short meeting? When you embark on a $30 million construction project that the county's bond representative estimated would be a $60 million payoff, should we expect short meetings? Meetings are one time a month, and we cannot give citizens this time?

Bailing out the county airport: The airport authority has asked us to allow it to use the $50,000 we designated for a hangar project to instead be used for the authority's operating costs and payment of delinquent airplane fuel bills. County dollars should not be used for those purposes. I need one commissioner to agree with me.

Angela Zimmerlink


The writer is a Republican Fayette County commissioner.