William Them running in Wysox
Name: William W. Them
Address: 901 Red Rock Rd., Wysox, PA 18854
Office sought: Township Supervisor
Political party: Republican
Occupation: Real Estate Broker
Education: Bachelor's Degree in Economics, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA
1. Why are you seeking the office?
I am seeking the office because I have the vision to meet the challenges of the growing and changing nature of Wysox Township. I feel that Wysox Township would benefit from my years of experience as a businessman. I have been in business in Wysox Township since 1972 and I feel that the township needs a more businesslike approach to the way it is being governed.
2. What are your credentials for being an effective representative?
- Graduated 1972- Susquehanna University - Selinsgrove PA
- 41 years in business in Wysox Township
- I have attended almost all of the Township meetings since 2007
- I have been on the Wysox Township Zoning Hearing Board since around 2006
- I have a passion for seeing the change and growth in Wysox Township being handled correctly.
- I have been the past president of the Wysox Chamber of Commerce
- I am a past director and the current secretary of the Central Bradford County Chamber of Commerce to which the Wysox Chamber recently merged.
- I have served as past president of the Bradford Sullivan Association of Realtors
3. If you are the incumbent, what have you done to deserve re-election?
I am not the incumbent.
4. If you are the challenger, what have you done to prepare for holding the office?
I have been observing how this township has been operated for the past six years by attending almost all the Township meetings. I have been gathering data to find out how and why the Township has over $1.6 million in its bank accounts. I have attended educational courses offered by PSATS with regard to the natural gas industry and the Zoning Hearing Board. I have kept myself informed of the governing decisions made by the Township for the past six years.
5. What are the top three issues as you see them and what would you do about them?
- Surplus: The Township has been operating with a surplus of an average of $270,000 for the past three years. This has put an extra $810,000 plus into our accounts. This does not even include the $327,000 received from Act 13, which was the impact fee on natural gas paid to the Township by Pennsylvania. So, since 2010, the township has increased its cash balances by over $1.1 million! And this increase in cash balances was not even discovered until about seven months ago. I feel that a reduction in township property taxes is in order. I do not feel that it is the purpose of government, especially local government, to accumulate money on the backs of the taxpayer. I believe that the surplus is a result of an increase in earned income tax due to the increased employment in Wysox Township. This is an income which we cannot control. I feel that we should drop the Township property taxes, which are 3.5 mils, to 0. This increase in earned income tax could go away at any given time. To prepare for that, I would suggest putting $200,000 in an interest bearing account, and use that money to offset drops in earned income tax and then reinstate Township property taxes as needed. But until that happens, I would be in favor of the reduction of property taxes.
- Open Honest Government: I feel that the governing decisions made by the board of supervisors should be available to the public in a much more open forum than attending meetings. A township website is necessary to provide that information to the public. Minutes of the meetings as well as annual budgets should be published. The list of bills paid and income received which is available at the township meetings should be available in a readily accessible public forum. I am also in favor of the return to using township auditors to audit the township bookkeeping. This township has no elected auditors due to a combination of reasons. I am in favor of appointing auditors to the position until the terms expire. I would then urge citizens to run for that elected office as each term will expire.
- Ethics: Never before in the history of the township has there been an ethics complaint filed. We have one now. To my knowledge and to this date, nothing has been done about it. This is a situation which must be rectified. I have attended almost all of the township meetings for the past eight years. I understand how the township government runs. I will strive to bring honor back to our township and make it one of the most respected and low taxed townships in Bradford County. Along with the ethics complaints, Wysox Township had to do a forensic audit to determine if wrongdoing had occurred. The audit covered only a short period of time and its findings were alarming. Then there was an appointment to replace Supervisor Shoemaker who unexpectedly passed away. And yet the problem still exists. Our once well run township is now in disarray. When elected, I intend to fix this problem.
6. In the coming years, how would you like to see your municipality use its revenue from the impact fee on gas drilling?
I would like to see that money used for improving the infrastructure of the township. Immediately, I would improve and pave the roads in the township which need it. I would replace every sluice pipe on township roads with plastic piping that will not rust out in the future. These items would be a permanent fix and would help to keep from raising taxes in the future. I would advocate utilizing this money to the fullest benefit of every taxpayer in Wysox Township to improve roads and to improve snow plowing. Everything should be done to lessen the burden on every taxpayer and thereby result in lower taxes in Wysox Township.
After the roads are under control, other examples for the future could be a new or improved Township Building or a permanent manned recycling facility. However, this type of improvement should be studied and considered for an adequate time, rather than just jumping in and doing it. There should be a plan in place for how the township should be improved. This money may or may not be a permanent source of revenue, so it should be used wisely. I do not feel that that money should be used to operate any part of the Township budget. I feel that it should be used for infrastructure projects which have had ample research and consideration.
7. What is your philosophy about taxation?
My philosophy about taxation is that it is a necessary part of government. However, I do not feel that a local government should accumulate money just for the sake of accumulating money. I believe that a township should run as close to a balanced budget as possible. I do feel that if the township receives increased revenues from sources which it cannot control which then results in a surplus, that increased services or infrastructure should be provided to the township residents.
8. How have you been campaigning?
I have been campaigning door to door. I have been making phone calls to Wysox Township residents. This election is about bringing a sound decision making process to the township and making the township a better place as a result of those decisions.