Five Battle For Ayr Twp. Tax Collector Nominations
Three Republican and two Democratic political newcomers are set to battle it out during the May 19 municipal primary election for their shot at the position of Ayr Township tax collector currently held by longtime elected official Arlene Nesbitt.
Among the five women hoping to gain the lone nomination of their respective parties are Republican candidates Jennifer L. Knepper, Anne M. Seville, Inga J. Smith and Democratic candidates Kim Fisher and Julie A. Shearer. The highest vote recipient from each party will square off against one another this fall.
Jennifer L. Knepper (R)
Jennifer L. Knepper touts plenty of experience handling money and finances as result of her employment as a teller at the Waterfall branch of Community State Bank of Orbisonia. Currently involved in a handful of community and church-related organizations such as Cito United Methodist Church, where she serves as secretary; Fulton County Farm Women; and Auxiliary Group of Gideon's International, Knepper told
the "News" she only recently decided to try her luck at a run for office when she determined veteran tax collector Arlene Nesbitt was stepping down.
Knepper and her husband and local auctioneer, Craig Knepper, reside at 859 Lincoln Way East, McConnellsburg. She has four children, Cody, Taylor, Michaela and the most recent addition to their happy family, Reuben.
Knepper stated providing accuracy
top roles and
services that should be provided by any tax collector. She concluded her own financial benefit from serving as tax collector was not a factor in her decision to run for office but thought it would prove to be both "fun and interesting."
Anne M. Seville (R)
Local business owner Anne M. Seville has also thrown her hat into the ring as a Republican candidate for Ayr Township tax collector. Seville, of 589 Jugtown Road, McConnellsburg, is currently the co-owner Great Cove Baskets along Lincoln Way East in McConnellsburg Borough and performs clerical duties for her husband at Morton's Feed Mill. She is also very active with the 4-H Club and has worked hand-in-hand with Fulton County residents most of her adult life.
Seville stated her bookkeeping and accounting services are qualities that would prove to be an asset to anyone elected to that position and the township itself. Through those same bookkeeping and accounting responsibilities, she said she also deals with state- and federal regulated taxes.
A graduate of McConnellsburg High School and mother of three, Seville noted, "With Arlene's retirement, I have an opportunity to help the community by filling the vacancy. My goals are to fulfill the job of tax collec- tor to the best of my ability and to continue to help this wonderful community to grow to its fullest potential."
In light of the ongoing tax collector suit lodged against the county, Seville added, she views the current method of payment by the county to township tax collectors as being both "viable and a sufficient payment method."
Inga J. Smith (R)
Big Cove Tannery resident and local Republican Inga J. Smith possesses a variety of work-related experience, including stints at PNC Bank and Grove Manufacturing before moving onto her current employment with Central Fulton School District as a special education aide.
Smith, wife to Jim and mother to 14-year-old Andrew Smith, noted her community involvement includes being a member of the McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Co.; the local board of directors for the American Cancer Society; leader of the local Taking Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) chapter; and attend St. Paul's Lutheran Church.
"I see this as a way to serve and give back to the community ... I enjoy working with people, working with numbers, and I am an accurate record-keeper, which are skills necessary to be a township tax collector," said Smith, who noted that services that should be offered by tax collectors include availability to the public, accurate and organized record keeping and confidentiality.
"I offer dependability, honesty, organization and credibility, all of which add up to the person you want to be your tax collector," Smith concluded.
Kim Fisher (D)
Good organization, availability at times convenient to local taxpayers and a friendly face are among the services that Democratic contender Kim Fisher intends to provide to Ayr Township taxpayers if receiving her party's nomination on May 19 and, in turn, running a successful campaign this fall.
Supporting her run for office is a background based in general office management she now provides to husband Chris, owner and operator of Fisher Construction. "In the past I have held PTA offices and worked for the library, senior home-care agencies and the school district," said Fisher, a mother of four and grandmother of a 2-year-old. "When I heard our tax collector was retiring, I thought I can do this! Just the thought of being tax collector is exciting. I know it will be challenging at times, and I am looking forward to that."
Fisher, of 302 Serpentine Road, McConnellsburg, stated over the years she has enjoyed working with the public and looks forward to meeting new people. Also a stay-at-home mom, Fisher added she believes she could devote more time to the position and be readily available to the public.
"To be able to serve the community in this aspect would be extremely rewarding, and I have met so many nice and helpful people during this process," said Fisher, who concluded the current system of paying tax collectors for their duties is suitable as the "bulk" of the taxes are collected only in certain months.
Julie A. Shearer (D)
Hoping to have the best of both words by caring for her family while also working from home, Democrat Julie A. Shearer first had thoughts of running for Ayr Township tax collector in December when the extended Nesbitt family aired Arlene's decision to retire after approximately 48 years.
"It was at that time I thought, 'That would be a perfect job for me! I can work from home and earn money to help support my family and still be at home to take care of them. It's the best of both worlds!,'" said Shearer of 1115 Cito Road, Big Cove Tannery.
Shearer stated her organizational qualities as well as being able to handle money, which she learned through the family rental business - JJL Rentals - would be an asset to the township as would being a "people person."
"Being a people person isn't something you learn," said Shearer, who, along with husband Jeff has two children ranging in age from 13 to one. "When I worked on the 'Help Desk' at JLG Industries, I took calls from people with computer and software related issues. I had calls from the very calm to the very irate. I do believe, though, that you learn how to deal with the different emotions of people. I feel it takes a certain personality to work with the public, and I believe I have that skill."
Shearer added her home offers access to handicapped residents as well as ample parking for taxpayers who are visiting during normal office hours or by appointment. "Whether it is to open the door when they come knocking to pay their taxes or to pick up the phone when they call about their tax bill, my role as tax collector is to be there when I'm needed and to provide the taxpayer with prompt, accurate information," she related.