MERCER — In the run-up to Tuesday’s election, Commissioner Matt McConnell said the current board of commissioners has worked well together.
And they’ll have a chance to continue working together.
All three incumbent county commissioners — McConnell, Scott Boyd and Tim McGonigle — won re-election Tuesday. McConnell won a third term on the board, and Boyd and McGonigle were elected to a second term. Challenger Dr. Robert Multari lost his second election in as many years, after an unsuccessful run in 2018 for Congress.
This election marks the first time in at least 20 years that Mercer County voters retained all three county commissioners. Boyd said he was heartened by the voters’ endorsement.
“I’m very flattered by the fact that they see us as a very good team,” he said.
McGonigle agreed with Boyd’s assessment on the commissioners’ stamp of approval from voters.
“I think that it’s an endorsement of the work the board has done,” he said.
In addition to McConnell’s assertion that the three sitting commissioners are relatively free of discord, the incumbents ran on a commitment to economic development and fiscal responsibility.
The current board of commissioners, with McConnell as chairman, cut property taxes in 2017 and 2018, and held taxes steady in 2019. The board is working on the 2020 budget, with ratification expected in the next few weeks.
Boyd said the commissioners’ success on cutting taxes increased voter satisfaction and will serve to broaden the county’s tax base.
“That makes us look very attractive to new businesses looking to move into the county,” he said.
On economic development, the incumbents touted their efforts to pursue spin-off development from the ethane plastic “cracker” plant in Beaver County along Interstate 376, which has its western terminus in Mercer County.
Mercer County Commissioners scored an economic development victory earlier this year with the announcement that a developer planned to build a million-square-foot warehouse or distribution center in East Lackawannock Township near the Interstate 80 interchange with U.S. Route 19.
During his campaign, Multari vowed to combat job losses in the county and spoke in opposition to a proposed landfill in the Grove City area to stem cancer outbreaks.
Before the election, McGonigle cited the need for an estimated $30 million in repairs to county-owned bridges in the next 10 years as the commissioners’ greatest challenge. The county is responsible for 247 bridges ranging in length from three culverts less than 4 feet long to the 314-foot-long Oakland Avenue Viaduct in Sharon.
McGonigle said after his victory that the bridge issue and attracting new business among the greatest challenges in the commissioners’ next four years.
“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us,” he said. “We want to continue to bring economic development to Mercer County.”
In the next four years, Boyd said he expected little to change from what he saw as the current board of commissioners’ success.
“More of the same,” he said. “I would hope that we would continue to win the peoples’ trust.”