DUBOIS – The DuBois City Council heard from three candidates for an appointed position to the council. All three had to stand in the hall as each presented himself to the council for an interview.
The three candidates were current council member Jim Aughenbaugh, John Bojalad and Charles “Sam” Miles. The latter two lost elections for a council seat earlier this year to Edward Walsh and Diane Bernardo. Bernardo was excused from Monday night’s meeting.
Aughenbaugh’s interview was first and the shortest.
“I feel this council works well together, that we each bring something different on board,” said Aughenbaugh.
He added that he was proud of the work he has done with the council so far. This included not raising taxes, the walkway project and adding a second water source for the city.
Each candidate was asked by council member Randy Schmidt what they would like to see different about either the city or the council. Aughenbaugh’s answer was that the city could do more about the substandard lots.
“All my life, I have given to the community (that) I had grown up in,” said Bojalad. He told the council that serving would be another avenue to give back to the community.
Bojalad’s response to the change question was on the restrictions on the council’s public comment periods that had been imposed within the last year.
Bojalad felt the old system without any limits better served the community. The current system, posted at the bottom of every meeting’s agenda, gives each speaker three minutes to talk.
“I disagree with that. I think the council needs to hear what the citizens of the city of DuBois need to say, and you should listen,” said Bojalad.
Walsh asked Bojalad about his stance on Marcellus Shale. Bojalad answered quickly that he was for drilling but was not certain without more information about drilling on the city’s watershed. He said that he “wants safe water just like anyone else.”
Miles was third to speak.
“Two years ago, I attempted to come to the same type of position. In that time, my accomplishments in that time, and why I want to be here, to stop an oil company and to stop a second leash worth $3 million dollars the city did. They kind of went along with it,” said Miles.
Miles listed actions that he had taken since joining the Watershed Committee and progressed to chairman. These included trying to create a paper trail of orphaned existing wells. He approved of the city’s work with Jim Castleberry.
Walsh asked Miles about a campaign topic of Miles’, that the council could be more transparent.
“I like to know what is going on. I’d like to know what is going on with the appeal of the 127 acres behind Doctor Doolittle’s, and the 460 some acres that go on for representation of sale to the game commission. I want to know how we advance upon these things. I don’t like being kept in the dark,” said Miles.
Another request of Miles was to know how much of the city’s income was from Marcellus shale, and what that money was going too. Similar for CDBG fund allocation.
“I want to know who is paying the bills with what,” said Miles.
“It’s not the case that you aren’t transparent enough. It is the way you are doing things now compared to how they could be before [sic],” said Miles when Walsh asked if Miles thought the council wasn’t transparent at all.
The candidate interviews proceeded the first public hearing on the budget. It was quickly adjourned as no citizens of the city had shown up. The second public hearing will be on Dec. 27 at 6:45 p.m. before the next council meeting. The meeting was moved back a day from Dec. 26 due to that date following the Christmas holiday.