Watson seeks to continue serving on Tyrone Borough Council

Nearing completion of his first term as a Tyrone Borough Council Member, Jeffrey Watson Jr. is seeking a second term on the community’s governing body.
“I believe that the current council is on a good track toward improving Tyrone,” Watson told The Daily Herald. “I feel that I couldn’t abandon the borough without a borough manager in place.”
The search for a good borough manager is one of the things council faces in the coming months.
“We hope to start advertising for the position in April,” said Watson. “The staff is working on what the council has asked for in the advertisement. We are looking for someone with experience as a borough manager, someone who can write grants and get that back into the manager’s office, someone with a good financial background and someone with the ability to work with the unions.”
Watson hopes with a fresh face comes fresh ideas.
“We are looking for somebody who can look at everything and bring some new ideas to the table to help get the borough to run more efficiently.”
Helping increase the job market is something that council is concerned with, but Watson also is looking at the future.
“We’re out of space in the borough to grow with industrial type jobs,” said Watson. “We hope to get something in the Westvaco plant and hopefully fill the lots at the Dixon site, but other than that, if we are going to grow industry, we would have to demolish some of the residential areas, and that would be the call of the owners, not the council.
“With the I-99 corridor becoming closer to reality, Tyrone needs to look into becoming a bedroom community for places like Altoona and State College. We need to set up the town to provide the services that a good bedroom community offers. There is opportunity for small downtown businesses, but right now that is what there is.”
Watson is hoping the new manager would be able to work with the surrounding townships.
“With the borough being out of room, there are plenty of opportunities in Snyder Township and Antis Township,” said Watson. “Tyrone receives a benefit through industry in the townships through the infrastructure we have there with the water and sewer. It is crucial for the new borough manager to work well with Snyder and Antis townships.”
When asked about the perception that the downtown is all council works on, Watson said that isn’t the case.
“The downtown improvements is a unique case,” said Watson. “The project was a PENNDOT project and was outlined by PENNDOT. I don’t think the people want us to give the money back to PENNDOT. We are working to use the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) money through housing rehabilitation for low income and elderly home owners. We have spent more in the past four years than we have in the history of the borough.”
Watson would like to see more cooperation between the borough’s departments.
“We need to look at having some of our departments working with each other,” said Watson. “We are looking at a storm water runoff problem near St. Matthew’s Church. We should look at the highway department doing the work instead of bidding the project out. They did the work on fixing Lincoln Avenue, and can certainly do the job.”
When asked about the drug problem in Tyrone, Watson is proud of the work that is underway.
“With the chief (Joe Beachem) getting our force involved with the Blair County Drug Task Force, you are seeing more arrests in our area,” said Watson. “There are a lot of activities that are going on that the public shouldn’t know about. Their job is based on confidentiality. They are doing everything in their power to make an air tight case, and air tight arrest and get an air tight conviction. “
As a council member, Watson has voted on his principles.
“I am basically a conservative person,” said Watson. “I vote on my principles. I listen to all sides of any issue, but when it comes time to vote, I vote on what I believe is the best interest of Tyrone. I take the public opinion seriously and listen to all sides.”
Watson will appear on the Republican ballot in the May primary.