GROVE CITY – There are six Grove City borough council seats on the general election ballot, and at least one of them has the potential to be contested.

Democrat incumbent Joel Bigley is seeking another four-year term for Ward 4. He’s served on council for 16 years and is currently vice president.

Republican Don Huntington recently announced a write-in campaign for Ward 4, saying that he feels council isn’t being responsive to the needs and wishes of the residents.

“And I want to do something to change that,” he said.

Huntington came before council earlier this year to ask if they’d consider updating a borough ordinance that currently prohibits backyard chickens.

Huntington had been keeping seven hens, which he had to find a new home for. Council turned down his proposal, and the experience made him feel like some council members voted based on their personal opinions – not based on the residents who were in favor of the idea.

But Huntington said he’s not running for council because of the chicken issue. He wants to be a clearinghouse for residents’ ideas and desires, and he wouldn’t make decisions for Grove City based on his own personal agenda.

He would vote according residents’ feedback, even if he disagrees with them. and while he’s a registered Republican, he said he’s not running on that platform.

The Marine Corps veteran and retired state corrections officer has been going door-to-door in Ward 4, noting that he wants to listen to what people have to say and work hard for the community.

“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make myself available,” Huntington said.

He’s from Williamsfield, Ohio. He studied Christian ministry at Roanoke Bible College, and he’s served with an international ministry.

He and his wife Brenda have lived in the borough since 1994 and have five kids and five grandkids; two of their children were adopted from South Sudan.

Bigley has lived in Ward 4 for over 35 years, and he’s a graduate of Grove City High School and Slippery Rock University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business management.

Both sides of his family go back many generations in the Grove City area, where he loves living and working. He is employed as a federal contractor.

He also used to work for the former Ivex plant in Grove City, where he was a union steward and union president.

Bigley was initially appointed to council to fill a vacancy left by Tom Shaffer. When that spot came up in the next election, he knew he wanted to continue to serve the borough.

He was named head of the infrastructure committee – a position he still holds. He has a lot of experience with those kinds of projects, and Mayor Randy Riddle and former council president George Pokrant thought he’d be a good fit.

“And I really got into that,” Bigley said.

He helped with the sewage treatment plant rehabilitation project, and he’s currently assisting with the new water treatment plant project.

His other accomplishments as a council member include working on the library expansion; replacing trucks for the fire department and the fire station addition; upgrades to the electric substation; and street improvements.

During his 16 years on council, the borough has invested more than $1 million in the Ward 4: $470,000 for stormsewer improvements on East Pine Street; $419,701 for improvements to West Washington Boulevard; $409,079 for electric and water upgrades on East and West Washington boulevards; and $59,800 for storm sewer analysis and mitigation.

Some of that infrastructure dated back to the 19th century, Bigley said.

Budget talks for 2022 have just begun with the borough’s department heads putting in their requests for next year.

He gave a shoutout to Borough Manager Vance Oakes and council member Amy Gallagher, head of the finance committee, for having to sort out how Grove City is going to pay next year’s expenses.

The borough’s main revenue streams are property taxes and fees; Grove City and the school district rely heavily on real estate collections, he said.

Out of all the properties in the borough, 41.6 percent of them can be taxed; the rest is tax-exempt, Bigley added.

He is a member of the Grove City Area Historical Society and Museum, enjoys collecting military items, loves history, and supports pet rescue – he has several cats.

Also on the ballot for Grove City borough are these uncontested races, all four-year terms:

• Riddle is seeking another term as mayor; he won nominations on the Democratic and Republican tickets.

• Republican incumbent Vincent F. DiStasi, Ward 1; Republican Shawn Morley, Ward 2; Republican incumbent Mary K. Mattocks, Ward 4; and Republican incumbent William H. Zimmerman II, Ward 5.

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