Local Leaders Look Towards the Future: A Q&A with Mayor Rebecca Carroll Baltozer, Borough Council President Freddy States, and Borough Council Vice President Jeff Hudson

Written by Ali Marquart

Mayor Rebecca Carroll Baltozer:

1. How did your term on Borough Council prepare you for your mayoral role?

My time on borough council helped me understand the policies and processes of how the Borough works. Unfortunately, leaving borough council I gave up my voting power, but I thought I could be successful as a mayor and get other people in the community involved as well. I am Marietta’s biggest cheerleader!

2. What did you accomplish in the first year?

The biggest part of becoming mayor was understanding the importance of public safety in this role. I have created relationships with the Susquehanna Regional Police Department, Marietta Fire Department, and Marietta Fire Police. These relationships have helped me greater understand public safety and how important it is to our community.

3. What are your goals for the rest of your time as Mayor?

My goal is to help complete projects that Borough Council has been working on for numerous years such as the Front Street Project that included Donegal place. Completing the War Memorial Park plan and implementing upgrades to the park. My greatest goal as mayor is to create an inclusive culture where all residents feel valued.

4. If you had unlimited resources to use in Marietta, what would you do with it and why?

I would spend resources helping with river forest management plan. I would want to update infrastructure of sewer system and bridges. Also, redoing all crosswalks to be ADA compliant.

5. What is your favorite thing about Marietta?

My favorite part about Marietta is the incredible culture that has been created. I love walking down the street and seeing people I know! Also, supporting all the incredible small businesses that are in Marietta.

Borough Council President Freddy States:

1. What did you accomplish with your time on Borough council?
I have been on Marietta Borough Council for 5 years now. In my opinion, I haven’t accomplished enough yet. So much needs done in this small town. Twenty six hundred people do not create a large tax base. Therefore, we are always relying on grants to get a lot of our projects done. Some of the biggest projects accomplished while I was on council include the Northwest River Trail. This was by far the biggest project that I was a part of. It was done over many years through many phases. What an amazing asset to Marietta. Another great project that we really needed in Marietta was the flapper valves on all the storm water drains. This should eliminate all the nuisance floods on Front Street. More needs to happen to make us completely flood proof, but this was a great start. And lastly rebuilding all of the parks in Marietta. War Memorial Park will begin this year with new tennis and pickleball courts. The Tot Lot and Front Street parks on East Front Street are also being done in the near future.

2. How did that prepare you to be borough council president?

Nothing really prepares you to become borough president. You just have to jump in and start swimming. I learned from Jeff Hudson, who was our previous council president, and I gained a lot of knowledge over my first 4 years on Council when Glen Mazis was our president. I also learned not to always interject or force my opinions. As president you need to take more of a neutral position and allow for the voting body of council to make the right decisions.

3.What are your goals for the borough to accomplish during your time as Council president?

I want to apply for as many grants as we can, to get as many streets and park projects completed during my time. I also want to get our business district full of storefronts again. I want convenience for all residents that live here. My hopes are that there will be a waiting list of people trying to buy property and move into Marietta.

4.If you had unlimited resources to use in Marietta what would you do with it and why?

1. I would make sure every storefront on Market Street was open for business.
2. I would make Marietta Borough a golf cart community where everyone uses them throughout the whole town for transportation.
3. I would get War Memorial Park done in one year. It’s about a $5,000,000 project and in reality, will take us between 5-10 years.
4. I would create a park/beach/campground right along the River Trail. I’d love to have a pier that people could walk out on to see the river and go fishing.
5. I would develop a shopping complex with a grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, liquor/beer distributor, and a gym. We don’t have room in town to do a project this size. It would probably have to be out on 441. I think this would cover everyone’s needs in Marietta.

5.What is your favorite thing about Marietta?

I love that we are almost forever frozen in time. This small town is so grown in. We will never have a traffic light or a major chain or box store in town. No matter how popular we get, it will never change the look or charm of our quaint little town. I love Marietta!

Borough Council Vice President Jeff Hudson:

1. What did you accomplish with your time on Borough Council?

I came to be on Marietta Borough Council in sort of a roundabout way. I had stepped-up to fill the vacancy of another member who resigned about halfway through their term. I didn’t run for reelection and was surprised I had won another term through a write-in vote campaign and then was surprised again when I was asked to take Glen Mazis place as council president. I hadn’t planned on either thing but I agreed to finish out my new term and to serve as president for a year – and what an eventful year it was!

The borough only has four full-time positions. Half of them needed filled last year so my first order of business was to help organize job searches to replace people who had provided the borough a decade of dedicated service and were a hard act to follow: Glen Orr and Sharon Bradnick. In the course of the taking applications and interviewing prospective employees, it became apparent to me and others on our search team that some changes needed to be made in our employment conditions if we were going to be able to hire someone of quality in the post-Covid era. We made those changes and I’m glad to say we hired two persons who are working out well. Harold Trout has joined Bill Haldeman on a road crew so skilled they saved the borough from having to contract out expensive projects like repairing the bridge on Front Street and Julie Hall; our new secretary/treasurer, has joined Ronda Ney to form a great (and fun!) partnership in the borough office.

One of the most important legal responsibilities of any borough or township in Pennsylvania is arranging emergency services for its residents. For a number of years, the increasing costs of EMS has put the ability of local governments to provide for them at risk. This crisis of funding has caused municipalities to look for a sustainable way to fund these vital services. The more I learned about the nature of this problem, the more I became convinced Marietta Borough needed join with other boroughs and townships to form a new authority ensuring us the ability to provide high quality emergency medical services. By being one of the original municipalities to join seven other local governments in forming the Municipal Emergency Services Authority (MESA), the Marietta Council has not only found a way to provide these services but also ensured we will retain a measure of local control by guaranteeing Marietta a seat on its governing board.

2. How did that prepare you to be Borough Council vice president?

Well, I knew very little about the ins-and-outs of local government until I joined the council and then became its president. Knowing more about the extent of borough responsibilities and – just as importantly – knowing about the limits of our resources to accomplish those responsibilities has put me in a much better position to evaluate our council’s current performance and also to prioritize our goals for the future

3. What are your goals for the borough to accomplish during your time as Council vice president?
As I mentioned, Glen Mazis was Borough Council President when I joined. Glen did at least two things I think were vital to Marietta: he wrote a lot of grant requests – many of which came to fruition and have been used to improve the borough in tangible ways without requiring a raise in taxes – and his friendly demeanor helped to establish a cooperative environment for council to get its work done. As council president I looked for ways to continue these positive influences and I’m sure I’ll do the same as vice-president. Recently, we were able to get a grant to refurbish the old tennis courts and we will soon have two new pickle ball courts as well as a new tennis court to take their place. I helped write two grants to help defray Marietta’s expenses in lining our sewers; one of those grants is still pending. During my time as president, I hope I contributed to congenial atmosphere on the council and I’ll look to continue that as vice-president. I’m hoping to have a little more time than I did as president to pursue some of my personal interests in a way that will be beneficial to Marietta. Occasionally I write articles for LNP and Lancaster Online. They are often historical in nature – I wrote one about the twelve young men from Marietta who gave their lives in the Second World War. One of things I plan on doing is writing a new walking guide to Marietta emphasizing its unique historical locations. I hope to get some of our visitors up off the trail to see the rest of the town. I also intend to have a hand in the continued improvement of Marietta’s parks.

4. If you had unlimited resources to use in Marietta, what would you do with it and why?

That’s a tough question. I would keep putting money into our parks – creating new ones and rehabbing the older ones, I would restore the rest of the Borough Office and provide funds to the Marietta Restoration Associates to do the same to the buildings they own, and I would try to establish a community development fund to provide low interest loans to people who wanted to start a business in town. However, I would keep in mind many Marietta residents like things much as they are are so my efforts would be focused on improving Marietta while preserving its essential character. Small towns are a bit like sharks – they have to keep moving or they’ll die – but you have to be careful you don’t ruin the thing you love by trying to improve it.

5. What is your favorite thing about Marietta?

I’m tempted to say Shank’s Tavern – I enjoy the good beer and good conversations – but that is just one of the things I like about our town. Of course, Marietta is steeped in history and I like that but I also like the appreciation people here have for that history. When I first moved to Marietta I got involved in a local campaign to prevent a power plant being built close-by the west side of town. What inspired me to do this (and write letters to the newspaper) was the passion expressed by residents I had just met to preserve the historical character of their town and their regard for the natural setting Marietta is fortunate enough to occupy. Like many townspeople, I have a desire to be outside whenever I can. When I moved here my kids were young and the trail along the river hadn’t been paved. We spent countless hours riding our bikes down there anyway, walking our dogs in woods and canoeing and kayaking in the river.