WELLSVILLE - Of the six seats on Wellsville Village Council, two will be up for election on Nov. 5. Their present occupants are councilwomen Rosie Goss and Tonda Ross, both of whom are running for re-election. They are joined in this year's race by Randy Allmon, who has served numerous terms on council, and Nancy Murray.
Allmon, a 56-year-old Democrat, is current president of the Wellsville Area Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Columbiana County Area Chambers of Commerce. He retired as former service manager of Bobby Rahal Jaguar in Pittsburgh.
A graduate of Wellsville High School, Allmon attended Kent State University. He says that as a lifelong resident, seeing Wellsville in decline over the years has been heartbreaking, but believes that he can make a difference in returning it to health. A key to the effort, he says, is holding the owners of dilapidated and abandoned structures to account, with the imposition of harsh penalties for violators.
Allmon says he would push for the acquisition of land that had been earmarked for a now-stalled project outside the township. "It would be extremely advantageous to annex the former Baard Energy properties into the Village of Wellsville," he said. Allmon cites the tax revenues should the property be developed, as well as the police and fire protection the village would provide to the site of such a development, as justification.
Current councilwoman Rosie Goss sees abandoned houses and run-down buildings as the largest problem facing Wellsville. She is seeking re-election to complete what she views as the unfinished business of nuisance properties. "I feel that I have more work to do cleaning up the village and making it more attractive to outside businesses, but even more to the people who live here," she said. Her goal is to save the homes that are salvageable and restore the village to its former look of years past.
Goss lists no party affiliation and has served on village council for eight years to date. She is a graduate of Wellsville High School and holds an associate's degree from Kent State University. Goss is employed as a lab analyst at the Ergon facility in Chester, W.Va.
Nancy Murray, currently an accounts-payable specialist in the auditor's office in East Liverpool, worked for the Department of Jobs and Family Services in Lisbon for 22 years. The 66-year-old Democrat says her goal on council would be "to bring a new era of growth" to Wellsville.
"With innovative ideas and a collective effort from each of us, together we can build a stronger community," she said.
Murray, a Southern Local High School graduate now settled in Wellsville, wants increased enforcement of ordinances and a stronger effort to clean up dilapidated properties and end drug trafficking. Increasing economic vitality by promoting the village's location and transportation infrastructure would be another priority.
In fact, Murray says bringing outside investment to Wellsville should be council's highest priority. Doing so would address the present lack of jobs, improve the village's fiscal outlook and help with combating the problem of drug dealing and usage.
Tonda Ross is familiar to village residents as the owner of Tonda's Place on Main Street. The 56-year-old independent is seeking her first elected term to village council. She was appointed in January 2012 to fill the seat vacated on council by the election of former councilwoman Susan Haugh to the office of mayor.
Ross is a graduate of Beaver Local High School and attended Kent State University. As a business owner, she says the village should be run on a business model. "There should be a check-and-balance system to check and double-check all business transactions, as well as the payroll policies," she said.
Ross says her goal is to ensure equal treatment for all village residents and businesses, as well as "fair and equal representation" for village employees. The biggest challenge facing the village, she says, is drug trafficking, though she says the battle against drugs in Wellsville is bearing fruit and thanked village and county law enforcement for their efforts.