EXETER — As the Nov. 3 General Election draws closer, borough residents have the opportunity to vote for first-time candidates and current members for borough council.
With four available seats on council, the six candidates running include Democrat/Republicans John Morgan and Joseph J. Esposito, Democrat Larry Dellegrotto, Democratic incumbent Betty Ann Deroberto and Republican incumbents David R. Balent and Ron Rome.
Rome, a lifelong Exeter resident, is running with Morgan and Balent.
The three men, Rome said, wish to turn the page for Exeter Borough and take it in a positive direction. He believes the current council is too careless with finances.
“It’s time for a change and the current council lacks leadership,” Rome said. “There’s been no forward motion as far as progression in the borough and they are financially irresponsible. They’ve spent over $330,000 against legal advice from three attorneys on (Police Sgt. Leonard) Galli.”
Council suspended Galli from the police department in 2014 after allegations he used a workplace computer to view pornographic materials and arrange sexual encounters. An arbitrator determined in September the termination was excessive and ruled in favor of reinstating Galli.
A borough resident his entire life, Morgan is seeking his second term on council.
He was appointed six years ago and served a two-year term before being voted onto a four-year term in 2011.
Morgan wishes to help the borough with the police force as well, and hopes to see the hiring of more full-time officers.
“I would like to see Exeter Borough bolster the police force,” he said. “With more full-time police officers, they’d pick up on everything every day. Part-time officers work hard, but with their mixed-up shifts, they don’t see everything happen. So, I’d like to see more full-time officers.”
With only Galli and three full-time officers, Morgan said council was given the opportunity to apply for a grant to hire more officers, but it was not acted upon and was awarded instead to Hanover Township.
“There are other ways to do it,” said Morgan. “But we have a couple officers right now that are near retirement age and, if they go, Exeter Borough will be left with one full-time officer.”
Esposito is also running for re-election and served on council for 12 years before taking a two-year hiatus. He was re-elected four years ago.
A borough resident for the last 40 years, he feels there is no need to hire more full-time officers. He would rather surrounding boroughs agree on combining police duties.
“What I’d like to see is a joint operation of neighboring police departments,” Esposito said. “If we could structure something between the police departments, I feel we’d be more efficient. We could do it in a structured way so we know who’s helping who on what days and in what ways.”
Esposito said the primary reason he’s running for re-election is to see make sure streets and sewer improvements remain updated.
After storm sewers are improved, the streets will be repaved, and Esposito said all of this will be done without raising taxes.
“Putting new sewers in is a constant project,” he said. “What they’re doing is just continuing as we get more money to continue to redo them to improve on them. We’re doing all of this without raising taxes and we have no plans to raise taxes for 2016.”
Morgan and Rome both said they will push to see Exeter Borough switches to single stream recycling, which will allow all recyclables to be collected together.
The borough currently operates on a curbside collection in which certain items such as aluminum, cardboard, glass and plastic must be separated for monthly collection.
“I have to sit and store my cardboard and if we just put everything out at once, people would be more resceptive to the recycling program,” said Rome.
If elected, Morgan said he hopes to help lead Exeter Borough into a more positive direction.
“I’d like to see Exeter turn the page,” he said. “I feel we’ve been in the news for negative reasons and I want better communication, better oversight and better overall agencies.”