With the local election less than two weeks away, Renovo Borough Council hopeful Maureen Ruhl is optimistic. Ruhl ran a write-in campaign for Renovo Borough Council in the May 18 primary election. Two weeks later she learned it was official, she would be on the ballot in November.
Ruhl is well known in the community as someone who speaks her mind. Prior to Ruhl’s decision to run for a seat on the council, several area residents came to her voicing their concerns over the lack of police protection and Renovo Borough Council holding private meetings. Concerned citizens speculated those meetings withheld vital information regarding Bechtel Energy bringing a gas power plant to Renovo.
Ruhl said, “I’m tired of the shroud of mystery in our community. A few people know what’s going on, while the rest of us are left in the dark.”
Ruhl believes taxpayers have the right to know what’s happening within their own community. Withholding information creates a breach of trust. Once trust is lost, it creates great doubt as to whom is looking out for the best interest of the community. Ruhl strongly believes Council should be made up of various individuals within a community, not one family.
Several questions arose after Ruhl and her husband, John, attended a monthly meeting. The couple found it odd that the Renovo Borough Council never voted on Bechtel Energy coming to town.
Ruhl believes instead of meeting the demands of a disenfranchised community needing enhanced health services, drug programs, rehabilitation services, small manufacturing for entry-level employment, Renovo Borough Council has systemically made improvements to pave the way for Bechtel Energy.
Ruhl said, ‘Since when are grants and tax dollars spent on improvements directly enhancing a billion-dollar business to come to town? A new water pump station, new water lines laid on 4th and 9th Streets to access the proposed Bechtel Energy plant to and from the river.’
Whispers echo within the community over the potential power plant sites delinquent taxes, police patrolling the grounds, and maintaining the grounds all on the taxpayer’s dime.
Ruhl said, ‘If I do not pay my property taxes for two years my property goes to sheriff’s sale and is sold! Taxes on the old railroad property have gone unpaid but never went to sheriff’s sale. Why?
Many people in the community see the power plant as a lifeline for Renovo. The promise of jobs, taxes revenue, and security to revive a little town basically on life support, but Ruhl sees it differently after visiting several power plants. She states, there’s a big misconception about these power plants. They do not hire locals for the construction. They usually employ Union workers which greatly reduces the chances for anyone local obtaining employment. The taxes are also questionable since a large majority of the plant is not taxable as real estate. It falls under the category of equipment and it will be considered exempt. They pay minimal taxes and can also apply for tax credits for KOZ. These monstrosities benefit Bechtel Energy, not the people of Renovo.
With most residents living within one to two football fields of the power plant. There are a lot of concerns most people are overlooking from the outside massive visual impact, the constant noise, pollution, mild-to-severe birth defects, chronic diseases, and the other risk factors that if the hospital, ambulance, police, and fire companies are prepared to handle an emergency situation or massive destruction.
The Elect hopeful believes this election is a way for Renovo residents to take back their town and once again have a voice by casting their vote for Ruhl on November 2.
If elected, Ruhl plans to have an open communication system with the community. Taxpayers can come to her with their questions and concerns. She promises to be open and honest at all times and committed to addressing the community’s concerns and needs.
Ruhl is now retired but she is a former banker, businesswoman, child advocate, and author of Frozen Tears. She donates her time to various organizations and charities in the community. She is dedicated to making a difference in hopes of creating a better tomorrow for future generations to come.
By: Donna Kshir
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