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Supervisor Jim Burket tries to ‘keep the peace’ in Snyder Twp.

Jim Burket, 47, has been serving on the Board of Supervisors in Snyder Township since January of 2006, when he was elected for a six-year term as a Republican write-in candidate.
Burket is a 1978 graduate of Tyrone Area High School and has lived in Snyder Township for the past 26 years.
He wanted to serve the people of Snyder Township as a supervisor ever since the zoning issue began in 2005, when the township’s planning commission put together a comprehensive plan for the next 10 to 20 years. Zoning was mentioned in the plan, which had some residents up in arms, and others for it.
“I was active in going to township meetings and I wasn’t sure about the avenues it was going down,” said Burket. “Right now the township’s not ready for zoning, not yet, and that’s what got me involved.”
Being a Snyder Township supervisor isn’t always an easy task, and Burket is well aware of that. He says that his goal while he is an elected official of the township is to get meetings and arguments over issues under control.
During the township’s September meeting, Burket said that he was “embarrassed” of the verbal exchanges from residents and supervisors.
“There’s a lot of people who need to grow up,” he added. “It’s not just the people or the supervisors, it’s both sides.”
Burket noted that part of the problem is that Snyder Township officials won’t stop mentioning the financial questioning that took place with the Bald Eagle Volunteer Fire Company. He said that an audit was done on the company’s finances, which he had asked for, that cost the township nearly $7,000.
“It needs to stop,” said Burket. “Things weren’t always tracked by the fire hall, but I don’t think they knew it needed to be.”
He added, “There’s no proof showing they did anything wrong, no evidence by anybody. If anything, the audit brought back methods and other ways for the fire hall to track things.”
Burket hoped that the audit was going to bring a resolution to the fire hall issue. He said that at worse, if something was found that was wrong, then the township and fire company would deal with it and move on.
“I try to keep the peace,” stated Burket. “We can’t keep focusing on the same points day in and day out.”
He said that fire chief Scott Illig and fire marshal Paul Morrison, Sr. were questioned for work at the fire hall they were paid for through township monies, but he thinks that Illig and Morrison thought the work was being done at a “fair price,” instead of misusing the funds.
“The township and fire hall have to be supportive of each other and get along,” added Burket. “I’m trying to find an even ground, because I have no personal feelings, good or bad, with either of the supervisors, the people yelling and screaming, or the fire hall.”
Residents who attend Snyder Township meetings don’t always act respectfully while meetings are in session, and Burket wants to see the township supervisors and the people get along more appropriately.
He said that the township’s secretary, Ann Dillon, doesn’t even get the time to fulfill her duties as secretary that she needs to, because of all the people coming into the municipal building wanting copies of records, ordinances, pay information, and whatever other information upset residents seek.
Burket also said that he would like to see a better working relationship with Tyrone Borough, which he admitted that he was disappointed when the borough wouldn’t sell a 75-acre plot of land in the township, that the borough owns, so that a needed recreation and ball field area could be built.
“I want to see ball fields and a recreation area, but it’s been hard finding land,” added Burket. “It would be nice for people to be able to go somewhere to enjoy themselves.”
Not all of Snyder Township is negative in Burket’s eyes, he feels that the township has a wonderful group of employees that care and take pride in their work.
“We get a lot of nice compliments about our employees,” said Burket. “I think they gained a lot of respect from the township people, because they care.”
As for himself and fellow supervisors Charlie Diehl and Bob Nelson, he believes they are all on common ground, and work well together, when it comes to doing what’s best for Snyder Township. He said that they undoubtedly have their disagreements, but cites that it’s good to not always agree on every issue.
One recent issue in the township that all three supervisors didn’t agree on was the Snyder Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance that was passed. Burket didn’t want to pass the ordinance so quickly, but Diehl and Nelson both voted to adopt it.
“I thought we jumped on it too early, but they voted for it,” said Burket. “We could of hung on another month for more people to view it.”
Whether or not Burket will seek re-election in 2012 is up in the air, but as he continues to serve Snyder Township, he remains committed to working together with supervisors and residents to do what’s right for the township.
“You got to remember you’re there for the township, not yourself,” stated Burket. “There’s some things I vote for I may personally not agree with, but it’s not my choice – it’s what the majority of the people want.”