Associate English professor Itzi Meztli was successful in his bid for a seat on the Slippery Rock Borough Council last Tuesday. Meztli is one of three new four-year term council members who will be sworn in January 1 of next year.
“I was pleased by the election results last Tuesday and am excited to serve once again as a member of the Borough Council,” said Meztli, who previously served as a council member from 2011-2015. “I love the prospect of being a ,public servant; helping the citizens of this community thrive brings me a great deal of joy.”
Of the 1877 registered voters in the Slippery Rock Borough, 463 came to the polls last Tuesday for a 24.7% turnout. Meztli received 303 total votes (25.53%), finishing third behind C. Eugene Allison with 335 votes (28.22%) and Russell D. Karl with 384 votes (32.35%). Incumbent Regina Greenwald received 154 (12.97%) and was unseated by the three new council members.
Fellow new council members C. Eugene Allison and Russell D. Karl share the same reservations over the Gateway Park Project, a project to turn First National Bank into a parklet with 22 parking spaces added downtown. The current council purchased the property and took out a $750,000 to finance the project. Meztli finds the project to be a waste of taxpayer dollars, estimating the total cost could rise as high as $1.2 million with principal interest.
“I’m not about wasting our taxpayers’ money. I find it predominantly important to spend money on projects that will benefit our community as a whole. I fail to see how a slab of concrete with a bench is worth the price they’re asking for,” Meztli said.
Meztli is also in favor of financing the construction of a new municipal library and hiring a borough manager to aide the council in drawing in more grant money and improving the borough’s website. There still remains a two-year council seat vacant from last Tuesday’s election that will be filled by appointment from the council. Metzli is advocating for an SRU student to apply for the position to better represent the student body.
“This university has a massive impact on our community and students often are underrepresented on council; I can’t recall a time since I have lived in the borough that a student has been involved on council in some capacity,” Metzli said. “Getting a student to meetings to voice concerns over issues like parking would provide some much-needed dialogue. Any student interested in serving in public office someday should seriously consider applying for the position.”
Applications for the two-year seat can be sent in as soon as January after newly elected council members are sworn in. Meztli is also advocating to get student interns involved to help transcribe meetings or update the website. The position would be stipend-paid and would likely be available as soon as 2019, pending borough approval.