This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Here's Kim Shaffer's statement in its entirety. Thanks to Kim for making it available.

October 29, 2013

Ligonier Borough Council Members and the Residents of Ligonier Borough:

After devoting close to thirty years of serving the residents of Ligonier Borough, I am submitting my resignation from Ligonier Borough Council.  It has been a privilege and pleasure to serve with my counterparts over the years, as we serve the tax payers of Ligonier Borough.  That is, until now.

I have never been one to back down for what is best for our town, but when my family and my job started being affected, started being drawn into the drama of council business, I decided it is time to go.  My family and my job are my top priorities.  I want to clarify - my employer has supported me through this ordeal. My job was never on the line, as some people probably would think. My employer is very busy with his commitment to his constituents of his district. Yet, he was contacted by select members of council and supporters of the project to see what he could do to help this project move along, going outside and beyond our zoning ordinance boundaries.

During the time I served on council and served as Mayor, I respected our Planning Commission and Zoning Hearing  Board. They devote their time and energy volunteering to serve the Borough tax payers. Our Planning Commission spent countless hours rewriting and updating our zoning ordinance in 2009-2010, partially funded by the Mellon Foundation. They had public hearings and meetings with Ligonier Borough Council members before it was voted on by Council to approve. This ordinance was approved by a unanimous vote in 2010, and now some think it is not right. Excuse me - less than 3 years, and it's outdated? NO! It is not outdated! Some people, mostly residents outside our Borough, choose to feel that our ordinances do not pertain to them. They say, "We have done a lot for the community and don't ask much," as they put pressure on Council Members to make exceptions to the governing rules Ligonier Borough has meticulously created for the benefit and protection of our town.

Excela sold their building on West Main Street for pennies on the dollar. They had their facility in a area already zoned commercial with a parking lot in the rear of the building and with a swimming pool in the basement. Why are they expanding their facilities? Why are they laying off employees or cutting their benefits at the same time? Quite a few of these employees are Ligonier Borough residents. Is this the corporation the YMCA wants to partner with?

People visit our quaint community because of how beautiful it is, how well it is maintained; because of our shops, our restaurants. I cannot accept one of the main entrances to our beautiful town will be sporting a parking lot and a glass and steel medical center. Since the early 1960s, the colonial style appearance has been encouraged on any remodeling in the downtown area.

What will happen when our independent medical facilities leave town, and we have only one facility to go to? What will happen to the buildings and office spaces they abandon? Is Excela, or Highmark, or UPMC or whomever they may partner with, in this for the long run? Or will it be phased out with a change of the Board of Directors or personnel?

I am proud to be a resident of Ligonier Borough. I am not proud of the deceitful political play that has entered into our town.


Kim I. Shaffer