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Ebersole seeking sixth term as Commissioner

Calling it an everyday challenge, Blair County Commissioner John Ebersole is seeking his sixth term serving the residents of Blair County.
“I enjoy the job,” said Ebersole. “My primary goal is to represent the common person and too many times the common person doesn’t get represented. You can’t work for the minority in this job, you have to work for the majority and realize that you can’t make everyone happy.”
In his nearly 20 years of service, Ebersole has seen many changes in the county.
“We’ve tried to stay abreast with technology,” said Ebersole. “We have tried to modernize with minimal effect to the taxpayers. We have been moving forward without burdening the taxpayers. We have computerized the county. We have a new office complex and we are getting rid of the rental properties for the district justices that is saving the county money.”
One of the major problems that Ebersole sees in the near future is children and youth, mental health and drugs and alcohol.
“We’re kind of handicapped in how we deal with these problems,” said Ebersole. “The state cut the budget for drug and alcohol treatment significantly. There will be little opportunities for treatment. That will help crime rates to rise and the prison population to increase. Treatment is necessary for drug and alcohol problems. There is a need to devise a new program. We need to get them treatment and get them working. Throwing money at them isn’t a solution.”
Another topic that is on the mind of Northern Blair County residents is the possibility of Westvaco reopening.
“We have talked about the possibility of a KOEZ (Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone) for the Westvaco site,” said Ebersole. “I am in favor of granting a five year KOEZ when it is requested. It is a significant loss in tax dollars, but it is a necessary evil. Everyone around the country will offer an opportunity zone if it has a chance of gaining 125 jobs.”
With the start of construction of the final phase of Interstate 99 between Bald Eagle and State College, Ebersole sees a bright future for Tyrone.
“I-99 is a giant plus for the northern end of the county,” said Ebersole. “The Tyrone area will see a growth. They have good schools and housing that is available and with the completion it will become much more convenient to State College, Tyrone should see a growth spurt. The completion of I-99 should be quite an economic boon for our county.”
Ebersole is hopeful for the economic growth of Blair County.
“The economy is poised to turn around,” said Ebersole. “We should see a steady growth in the county. With Logan Town Centre in the process of getting approval it will draw significant people to the area and significant revenue increase.”
Ebersole believes that the tax system in Pennsylvania is archaic.
“The system here is wrong,” said the commissioner. “If we had a sales/wage/property tax system in effect, it would be a more effective way to fund government. Until we get the tax reform from the state, I am against property tax reassessment. It will cost $3 million to do a reassessment. Many of our residents are on fixed incomes. It isn’t fair to penalize the people who fix up their homes while the people who don’t care about their properties skate by. I believe that when you work all your life, you should get a break when you become a senior.”
When asked about candidates saying that they will be full time commissioners and put 40 hours a week in the office, Ebersole disagreed with that position.
“Anyone who promises that is going to break the promise,” said Ebersole. “I am accessible to the people when they need me. My number is listed; I have a cell phone. I am on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you sit in this office for 40 hours a week, you don’t get to meet the people who need the help and it accomplishes nothing.”
Ebersole is on the Republican ballot for Blair County Commissioner in the May primary.