The race for Boyertown Council will see five candidates vying for four seats.
Two incumbents and three newcomers will appear on the November ballot.
Incumbents Charles N. Heller and Keith Endy will appear on the ballot as Republicans.
Newcomer Charles A. Haddad is running as a Democrat, while newcomers Charles W. Neubauer and Jeffrey Cascino are running as Republicans.
Council members serve four-year terms.
We asked the candidates to respond to two questions:
Question 1: Why do you believe you are the right person for this position?
Question 2: What are the most important issues facing the borough right now, and how do you plan to address them?
Charles N. Heller, 83
Background: He retired in 2000. He is a widower who had been married 61 years and has three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He has lived in the area for more than 30 years and has lived in Boyertown for 11 years. He has served on borough council for the last eight years and is a member of Immaculate Conception Church.
Question 1: I am an incumbent with eight years of experience. I retired from a major telecommunication corporation with direct responsibilities for customer service, budget management and divisional responsibility. This experience relates closely to council responsibilities.
Question 2: Dealing with the COVID issues and volatile cost increases for service and material expenses as they relate to the budget and major projects. Council is not about one person. It’s a collaborative process between the seven council members, the mayor, borough manager, solicitor and interested citizens of the borough.
Charles Haddad, 85
Background: He is a lifelong resident of Boyertown. He graduated from Boyertown High School, the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Accounting) and Villanova Law School. He went through Army Infantry Officers School, served in the Army in both active and reserve duty roles, and was an infantry officer. He is a former assistant district attorney in Philadelphia and former first assistant district attorney in Berks County who also served in private practice and textile manufacturer and is now retired. He is a Boyertown community volunteer, leader and activist.
Question 1: I believe I have demonstrated the right combination of education, professional and business experience together with community volunteer leadership to understand, address and work with fellow council persons to solve the problems that will come before me as a borough council person. As a member of the Boyertown Rotary Club, I was able to have the Boyertown Lions Club join in two major projects at the Boyertown Community Park, demonstrating that cooperation and working for the benefit of the community is the best way to accomplish a goal. I chaired Building A Better Boyertown for the $1,000,000 Main Street Revitalization program. Most recently, I was a charter member and board member of the Gen. Spaatz USAAF Museum that recently opened in Boyertown. I also chaired the revitalization and restoration of the Boyertown State Theatre. I am active in St.John’s ELCA. I am able to see problems, work with others to develop plans to solve them and then, most importantly, execute those plans.
Question 2: There are three important issues most of which involve our East Philadelphia Avenue, our main street: curbing and sidewalks that are unsafe, unsightly and unacceptable. There is a borough ordinance requiring property owners to repair or replace defective curbs and sidewalks. This ordinance has not been enforced, but it can and must be by council taking the leadership role in seeking matching grants and having open meetings with property owners to explain the problem and find a solution. Parking on both sides of East Philadelphia Avenue: The street is too narrow for cars and trucks to pass one another in opposite directions. Parking needs to be eliminated on one side with replacement parking being created in existing borough property or new areas. Again, meet and work with those affected to explain, discuss and find the solution. Registration of tenants in rental properties: The existing ordinance needs to be enforced to welcome and have all residents feel Boyertown is their home. We are one Boyertown working for the benefit of all.
Jeffrey Cascino, 58
Background: He is a lifetime member of AMBUCS, an organization that works with physical, occupational and speech therapists and provides adaptive trikes to individuals with special needs. He has served as a member of the Lions Club, the Gen. Carl Spaatz Museum and as a church council member. He is an active board member of Building a Better Boyertown. This organization works to promote and build relationships with individuals and businesses in the Boyertown community.
He believes in giving back to the community and supports the Boyertown Fire and Rescue Company and the Boyertown Community Ambulance Service. He is a first responder, actively volunteering as a ski patroller at Bear Creek for the past 17 years.
He has been an IT professional for 37 years. He enjoys fishing, hunting and skiing, and he and his wife, Jamie, also enjoy golfing together when not chasing their young grandchildren.
Question 1: I love this town and understand that we need to work together to make improvements. There is always room for improvement. I will keep an open mind and work with the community to keep us moving forward. I know I can do this by listening first and asking questions second. You have my word. I hope that you will give me this opportunity.
Question 2: There are many issues facing Boyertown. Like most towns we need to keep this community a place where you want to live and grow a business. We need to work together with the local organizations to make Boyertown better and be more interactive. There are many things going on in Boyertown and we need to keep that going.
Charles Neubauer, 60
Background: He has served as chairman on the Boyertown Planning Commission, and plant manager at a manufacturing facility in the borough for 38 years. He has worked part time at a local funeral home for 19 years. He is a volunteer firefighter with Boyertown Area Fire & Rescue.
Question 1: I have lived and worked in the borough of Boyertown all my life and have raised my family here. Due to my involvement both professionally and voluntarily, I have a real passion for what happens in Boyertown. Serving on the planning commission has allowed me to learn the inner workings of the borough government and working directly with council has allowed me to take the next step helping run the borough. I was fire chief in the borough for over 30 years, which also kept me in direct communication with the borough management.
Question 2: There seems to be more rental properties in the borough and it is straining the code enforcement and parking in the community. The borough zoning has in place measures to regulate these properties, but it takes time and it seems code enforcement does not have enough to keep up with the demand. The borough went through a phase of numerous open store fronts, but recently organizations such as Building a Better Boyertown have assisted in bringing business back to the community and we need this trend to continue. I know numerous people complain about the truck traffic on the main streets, but this is double-edged sword here since we need the services of some of those trucks and it is difficult to regulate which are allowed. I believe the speed of all vehicles is increased and enforcement is difficult on the already strained police department. One person cannot change things in a municipality alone, but I will listen to the residents and take realistic concerns back to the borough to potentially address using the proper channels.
Keith Endy, an incumbent running as a Republican, did not respond.
Source: Berkshire mont