1. Provide a brief professional and personal background.
I have been a businessman of Clearfield County since 1997. I am married to the former Kristi (Kropinsky). We have a daughter, Nicole and her husband, Vince and are the proud grandparents of grand-twins, Fynlee and Hagen.
I graduated from the Philipsburg-Osceola Senior High School in 1976, and attended the Clearfield County Career & Technology Center between 1975 and 1977 and from which I received a degree in electronic technology.
I started working for Batcho Business Machines in January of 1976 as an electronics technician and in 1980, I was promoted to service manager. At that time, there were eight service technicians.
In 2014, I purchased Batcho Business Machines. I outgrew the building and on March 1, 2018, I moved to a new location at 1225 S. Second St., in Clearfield and renamed it 2e Business Solutions LLC.
I also own Photographic Memories of Pennsylvania/D.W. Twoey Photography, located in Houtzdale, Clearfield County.
I have been a deputy waterways conservation officer for more than 24 years with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for Clearfield County, protecting the land and waters.
I received nominations over the years for the Deputy of the Year award and last year in 2018, I was selected Deputy of the Year for the North Central Region.
I also received the Outstanding Service Award in 2014 for professionalism and exceptional leadership working with different agencies during a search for a boating accident victim on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Clearfield County. I’m a boating and fishing instructor and a lifetime member of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 51.
2. Why did you choose to run for the office of Clearfield County Commissioner?
Being a businessman, you must understand how to run a successful business. I do not believe that the Clearfield County Commissioners are using the best business practices for the county in the last three-and-a-half years.
The commissioners knew they had a debt and did not conduct a long-term study for the future years of finance, but instead only put on a 1-mill tax increase in January of 2016, which was not sufficient for financing that year’s budget and caused a serious deficit in the following year. Because they did that, the commissioners had to come back to the taxpayers again and raised taxes 3.5 mills.
The deficit still was not being taken care of. Again, in 2019, the commissioner’s raised taxes 2 mils. Since the last election, the county commissioners have raised taxes 6.5 mills and are still carrying a debt.
They have established with a local bank a 3-million-dollar line of credit. No one knows for sure what the debt will be in 2020 after the election.
In local news Nov. 14, 2018, the commissioners stated that they have maxed out at 25 mills, which is the max millage without going to court.
It was also stated most counties in the state tax real estate at 100 percent of the assessed value, but it indicated the commissioners are not considering increasing this percentage AT THIS TIME.
Meaning if your property taxes were $500 and the commissioners raise property taxes to 100 percent, your property tax just went up to $2,000.
How can the taxpayers of Clearfield County afford this tax increase? As a businessman, we need to run the county as a business. It seems that the commissioners choose to kick the debt down the road.
Debt on top of debt on top of debt. Keeps on going and now were in a financial crisis. In my opinion, the millage should have been set to repair the debt in 2016.
All departments should have been evaluated to determine if they were overstaffed, and all hiring should have been frozen unless there was an emergency.
I believe in 2020 after the new commissioners have been elected, they must establish what the debt is in Clearfield County. I do not believe we should reassess the property tax of taxpayers but should float a loan for all debts of the county.
The budget of 2019 shows where the county raised the taxes 2 mills. A 2-mill increase will not be received until 2020 taxes. We could use 1 mill to pay the loan and 1 mill could be in reserve to cover emergency spending in 2020.
I believe every elected official should be concerned about the cost to the taxpayer. When you raise taxes, it not only becomes a burden, but so do all other expenses in life such as heating oil, electric, tv, medicine and home repairs, which increase every year.
3. What qualifies you to serve in the capacity of Clearfield County Commissioner?
As a businessman of Clearfield County for over 22 years and a state law enforcement officer for over 24 years, I have the experience, knowledge, honesty, problem-solving skills, professionalism, exceptional leadership and hard work to manage this county as a business.
4. Do you feel that the county is transparent? If not, what needs changed?
No. Over the next four years, the department heads should all be working together in harmony and if a problem comes up, it should be worked out in a business atmosphere.
All problems have a solution, it is a matter of two people sitting down and negotiating. The employees of the county should be treated with respect and my door will always be open.
5. If elected, how would you reach out and form relationships with citizens of Clearfield County? How would you reach out to those citizens in the outlying areas of the county?
My door will always be open as published on my Facebook page March 11. As your commissioner, we need to get issues of our county cleared up before they become bigger issues.
My first year in office and beyond, I would go out into the county and meet you so I can better understand the issues in your area, which could be different from the issues in another area of the county.
It’s hard to talk to a taxpayer at 10 a.m. when most of you work. Whether it’s 10 a.m. in Clearfield or 7 p.m. in the evening somewhere in your area, you should be able to express your concerns on your time. As your county commissioner, I’ll make this happen.
6. If elected, what measures would you take to ensure the efficient operation of Clearfield County?
As county commissioner, I would want to meet with all department heads and have a good relationship with all the departments, which include: Sheriff’s Office, Veterans Affairs, Register & Recorder, Probation and Public Defender’s Offices, Solid Waste Authority, Planning, Prothonotary & Clerk of Courts, Treasurer, District Attorney’s Office, Election & Voter Registration, Court Administration, Information Technology Department, Clearly Ahead Development, County Jail, Domestic Relations, GIS Department, Assessment & Tax Claim, Children & Youth, Emergency Management, Controller, Conservation District and Coroner.
7. If elected, what measures would you take to generate economic development opportunities for Clearfield County?
We should look at other counties to see what they are doing to get economic development. As Clearfield County Commissioner, I believe we should get the best individuals on authorities, boards and committees, and we should have meetings once a quarter to meet with local business owners of Clearfield County and hear their concerns.
The county commissioners set an atmosphere by being friendly, knowledgeable and supportive to any company, corporation or anyone who wants to go start a business.
The county commissioners should be able to tell a business what agencies to be in contact with at the state and county level.
As a businessman of over 22 years, I understand the regulations, the way the businesses are set up, the tax structures and what insurance is needed
County commissioners are responsible for appointing individuals to all authorities, committees and boards.
The authorities, committees and boards are: Clearfield Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority, Community Connections, Clearfield County Planning Commission, Clearfield Solid Waste Authority, Clearfield County Public Library, Headwaters RCD, CCIDA/CCMA, Curwensville Lake Authority, Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority, North Central Regional Planning and Development Board and Education/Workforce Development.
The county needs to set an atmosphere that makes businesses come to Clearfield County. The commissioners should appoint individuals who bring a knowledge to the authorities of economic development and business experience.
8. How would you fight the drug epidemic currently facing the county? How would you reduce costs, specifically in relation to the operations of the county jail?
Drugs have been a problem in this county and nation for decades. As a state law enforcement officer for over 24 years, I have witnessed this. This is a problem we should all try to find a solution for.
As commissioner, I would want to meet with our U.S. senator, congressmen, state senators and representatives for their approach to all of this.
I believe that if we all approach it from levels of government and law enforcement, we may be able to slow it down. But unless the parents, schools and the government can institute a program for the young, it’s going to be a difficult problem.
I have been looking at other programs that did work but were dropped because of the lack of funds. One program was in the 1980’s when you would say no to drugs. It was on TV, bill boards and radio. It was targeted for the young.
I also found an individual who ran for sheriff in the 1970’s and proposed an interesting approach that was published in The Progress in the 1970’s. They stated: “As sheriff, I plan to organize a volunteer drug committee to educate the public about narcotics.
“We must establish there’s a drug problem to stop the flow of drugs into the county, and to remove the pusher and supplier from society. The program I will lay out will require the Sheriff to be a leader and organizer and not require tax dollars.”
I could see that this could work if we would have professional people that understood the drug problems to lecture in schools, to Parent-Teacher Associations, to parents or anywhere there was a group of people who were concerned.
So far as the jail, the courts sentence people for crimes against society, at which time they end up in jail. The prison system is required to house these inmates under certain regulations.
There is a cost of $55 a day for housing inmates. I would suggest that as commissioner, we began to reevaluate incarnation persons that are unable to pay their fines and that some people who are not felons wear ankle bracelets, and that person would be responsible for the cost, not the taxpayers.
The county is housing inmates outside the county at costs to the people of Clearfield County. Not only does the county pay to house them at the jail, the county also pays for their medical. So, if we house them at their house, that would eliminate all cost to the county.
Right now, 80 to 85 percent of people being put into prison is because of the meth epidemic. The county should conduct a long-term study on drug rehabilitation.
9. If elected, what would be your top priority as Clearfield County Commissioner?
With my business knowledge of over 22 years, I would run the county as a business, making it stable and financially sound trying to keep the cost down for the taxpayers.
10. What are the greatest challenges facing Clearfield County? If elected, what measures would you propose to resolve them?
The budget, jail, drugs and communication between elected officials and taxpayers of this county all pose as challenges for the county.
As commissioner, I believe we have to get the elected officials – federal, state and local – and the department heads of this county to understand that we are in a crisis.
We have a financial problem, jail problem and drug problem. We need economic development so that more revenue can be received for the county treasurer.
As county commissioner, I want to be a communicator and problem-solver and to work with other commissioners, whether Democrat or Republican.
I want to have a good working relationship with all members of the county and to have an open door to them as well as the public. I want to work for the good, welfare and citizens of Clearfield County.
On May 21, I ask for your vote; vote No. 1 on the ballot. Thank you, David W. Twoey for Clearfield County commissioner.