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Meet the Trappe Borough Council Candidates

Primary election day is Tuesday, May 17. There are three open seats for Trappe Borough Council and six candidates running.

Trappe Republican voters will be faced with six names on the ballot when they go into the election booth next Tuesday: Tammy Liberi, Karen Westgate and Chuck Rogers are running as a team, and incumbents Lew DiPrete, Paul Edwards and Fred Schuetz are running as a team.

Democrats have a say in this local primary as well; however, they will need to write-in the candidates of their choice for Trappe Borough Council. PV Patch checked in with all six candidates to help Trappe voters make an informed decision in the voting booth. Here are the responses of the candidates (listed in alphabetical order):

Lew DiPrete

Can you tell us a little about yourself? I’ve lived in Trappe for 17 years. My wife, Beth, and I live on Silver Leaf Circle. My hobbies include golf and public office. Currently, I’m employed by Verizon and I’ve been in the telecom field for 15 years. I’ve been on Trappe Borough Council since January 2008.

What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of during your time as a councilman? I’m very proud of the Five Year Budget Plan we created, which went on to win a Governor’s Award of Excellence. I’m proud of our fiscal responsibility. The last time we ran, we said we wouldn’t raise taxes—and we didn’t. I also believe we’ve hired strong borough managers during my time on council—first Tommy Ryan and now Jacqui Guenther.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing Trappe? Our biggest issues involve our infrastructure. Our storm water management system and our roads and trails need attention. Our fire house is over 100 years old. I think we need to move forward on a Main Street beautification project.

Why do you want to continue to serve on Trappe Borough Council? I want to keep moving forward, following our plan of fiscal responsibility. I know we can work together to continue to improve Trappe Borough.

Paul Edwards

Can you tell us a little about yourself? I’ve lived in Trappe since 1994 with my wife, Theresa. We have two children, and I work as a building inspector. I’ve been on Trappe Council for three and a half years. I chair the Public Works committee and represent Trappe on the Regional Sewer Authority.

What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of during your time as a councilman? I’m proud that we’ve been able to re-establish cooperative relationships with the municipalities around us. I was also part of the team that negotiated the current Public Works employees' contract that saved taxpayers almost $250,000. I’m proud of the open and respectful way in which we’ve been able to conduct business in, and around, our borough.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing Trappe?   I echo what my colleagues have mentioned in terms of our infrastructure—storm water management, roads, our fire company. I think we need to re-establish a vibrant community by attracting businesses. We need places to go, places to shop, which, in turn, keeps our property values up.

Why do you want to continue to serve on Trappe Borough Council? I believe our budget mirrors who we are. We’re looking ahead, planning and moving Trappe forward. Working with the public and representing the borough residents as a councilman has been a rewarding experience. Knowing we are making a positive difference makes the commitment worth it.

Tammy Liberi

Can you tell us a little about yourself? My husband, Dino, and I have lived in Trappe for 10 years. We have two children. I work at a top five pharmaceutical company as Manager of Independent Drug Monitoring to better understand the aspects of study drug development. My hobbies include spending time with family and friends, and exercising.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing Trappe? Finances should come first.  We know Earned Income Tax (E.I.T.) is a major source of revenue for Trappe. We need to be conservative on expenditures. E.I.T. revenue is down, though it sustains the borough. Our firehouse needs renovations, (our) streets need repair. Residents are taxed enough between county and school. For the last five years, Trappe residents have not had to pay real estate tax. I think it’s important we do not reinstitute it. We can keep the borough safe and operational without further taxes.

Why do you want to serve on Trappe Borough Council? If voters place us on council, we promise to put the concerns of our community first. We’ll listen when issues are brought up and do our best to resolve them. We’ll protect our rainy day fund and save taxpayers money. Raising new taxes for essential needs should always be a last resort, after all other measures have been exhausted. As a recent Trappe Borough auditor, I have insight into council proceedings and believe that I can leverage this when improving and documenting borough processes. I enjoy meeting Trappe residents and sharing their concerns.  

Chuck Rogers

Can you tell us a little about yourself? My wife, Linda, and I moved to Trappe in 1996. We have one child. I am the Director of Internal Audit for a pharmaceutical company, where I monitor multi-million dollar spending programs for compliance. I am a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor. I enjoy singing in my church choir and was recently re-elected to the Vestry, where I serve on the committee overseeing Parish Finances. As time permits, we volunteer at an associated soup kitchen and other parish life events.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing Trappe?

  • Misplaced spending priorities, such as spending $52,000 on a design for Main Street Redevelopment when Borough Line Road is crumbling.
  •  Overly generous union contracts for Public Works.
  •  A willingness to spend away at the accumulated surplus for “Nice to Haves” instead of looking toward future essential needs (road repaving and firehouse improvements)
  • Traffic!

Why do you want to serve on Trappe Borough Council? I was asked to run by an elderly acquaintance, who was afraid the council would bring back the real estate tax.  Additionally, I noticed that many council decisions seem to be made with little more than perfunctory acknowledgement of opposing viewpoints or alternative solutions.  My extensive background in business, and the independence I’m required to maintain in my profession, will help overcome this.

Fred Schuetz

Can you tell us a little about yourself? I have been married to my wife, Jane, for 52 years. We’ve lived in Trappe for 42 years, and we have two children and three grandchildren. My hobbies include gardening, hunting and volunteering. I was employed as a civil engineer until my retirement in 1995. I am completing my fourth year on Trappe Borough Council, and I currently serve as council president.

What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of during your time as a councilman? I’ve served 10 years on the Planning Commission. During that time, I wrote grants resulting in $900,000 of grant funding to the borough. Rambo Park has been a great part of my life since 1995 when it was a briar patch topic of discussion until the gem that it is today.

I’m also proud of the friendships I’ve established throughout the community at large over the past 42 years.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing Trappe? I think our most important issues are infrastructure—our roads, storm water systems and our fire company. I’d like to capitalize on our historic sites to bring tourists in, and then have places in Trappe where they can shop and eat and spend some time.

Why do you want to continue to serve on Trappe Borough Council? I want to continue to expand upon the vision of having Trappe become a destination, rather than a point through which travelers pass.

Karen Westgate

Can you tell us a little about yourself? I have lived in the area for the last 16 years, 10 years in Trappe with my husband, Robert, and our two daughters. Currently I work as a Realtor with Prudential Fox & Roach in Collegeville and am a certified home stager. For the last four years, I have taught first-grade PREP at St. Eleanor Church.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing Trappe? I believe financial concerns should be Trappe’s priority. Residents are taxed enough between county and school. Five years ago, Trappe did away with the real estate tax, and I feel strongly about not reinstating it. I feel we can and should be able to manage the keep the borough safe and operational without bringing it back.

Why do you want to serve on Trappe Borough Council? I believe we need responsible leadership. If the voters decide to place my colleagues on council, we promise always to put Trappe taxpayers first. Every decision we make will be researched thoroughly, every contract be documented and vetted. We will protect our rainy day fund and save taxpayers money. Bringing back taxation would be our absolute last resort and only if the entire borough recognizes a critical need—something 100 percent essential to our safe operation. I have enjoyed meeting with residents during the campaign. I’ve never been more certain that Trappe is a wonderful place to live. Together, we will keep it that way and improve our borough wherever we can!

Trappe voters can cast their ballot Tuesday, May 17, at Trappe Borough Hall any time between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

BoyScout63 May 15, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Good question. I read on http://trappegop.org/trappe where the Committee asked you to state your position on spending more of our saved tax dollars on Main Street beautification, and you guys huddled and said NO COMMENT. What does that mean exactly? You're knocking on doors and sending mailers saying No TAX for Main Street. What about spending away our rainy day fund then creating a FIREHOUSE TAX two years from now? I put this to you three incumbents, and I will not consider voting for you unless and until one of you answers. Are you going to spend more of our saved tax dollars on Main Street?
Craig Marks May 16, 2011 at 12:10 PM
This question was already posed to Fred Schuetz (Council President) at a Trappe Council Borough meeting and he refused to answer. It is time to move on from these guys as they clearly do not have the best interest of the taxpayers of Trappe Borough in mind.
Fred Schuetz May 17, 2011 at 01:59 AM
To Manhattan: I don't normally reply to anyone hiding behind an anonymous name. The Trappe GOP website is clearly negatively biased against the incumbents. The Main Street Vision Plan is a planner's concept of how Main Street could look, not a design for immediate implementation. It will not be treated as such. A grant application must have a plan submitted showing how funding will be used. Expenditures to date were approved by unanimous vote of full Council. There might not be grant funding from government sources now. The programs are still in place. The plan is on the shelf and ready for when grant funding from government agencies or private foundations are available. It is not a priority item that will be addressed without grant funding. Fire Chief Brian Long gives a monthly report at every Council meeting. Had you attended any meetings you would have heard his concerns about current Firehouse conditions. Replacement and related costs are priorities. Fundings will be addressed at time of budget preparation. Review of the five year budget shows receipts have been trending downward. Expenditures like roads and building maintenance, are trending upward. Be a little more specific about the substantial surpluses that have been spent down. Implementaion of the Main Street Plan is not an action that will take priority over critical concerns like roads and fire stations. These items will be addressed at budget preparation time by all of Council.
Fred Schuetz May 17, 2011 at 02:07 AM
Boy Scout63: As with Manhattan, I don't usually respond to anyone hiding behind an anonymous name. Trappe GOP .org, fed by Mssrs. Minster and Strauss, are clearlyt negatively biased presentations against us as incumbents. Rather than my re-writing what I presented to Manhattan, I would request that you read my reply at that location. The Main Stree Vision Plan is now a document that will be available for use in supporting any application for grant funding. It will not take priority over critical issues such as roads and firehouses.Those matters must, and will be addressed at budget time in the Fall.
BoyScout63 May 17, 2011 at 04:56 AM
Mr. Schuetz - again you have not answered the question. If re-elected, will you spend more of our saved tax dollars on Main Street? In a roundabout deflective way, I think you answered it actually, as did your colleague Mr. DiPrete. "I think we need to move forward on a Main Street beautification project," he wrote in his bio. Move forward means to act now. Then tonight you wrote grant funding, which no longer exist, and even if they did, distant future grants will require matching funds: only 50% in the best case, more for most state grants. Which means yes, you are champing at the bit to spend our saved tax dollars on Main Street. I suspect that $1.5 million worth of gold in our treasury has been vexing you and your "team" for nearly four years, calling you. You can't take it, all of that free gold! You have a vision for Trappe, you want to leave your mark on it, your legacy. Using other people's hard-earned money. So again: Are you going to spend more of our saved tax dollars on Main Street?

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