Incumbents run strong in Belpre

Incumbents were the biggest winners of the Belpre city elections during Tuesday’s general election.

Along with the seven city council seats, residents chose a council president, treasurer and city auditor with two of these 10 races contested.

The city auditor race was close with Republican incumbent Leslie Pittenger having 427 votes, or 54 percent, against non-partisan newcomer George R. Holland, who had 364 votes, or 46 percent.

“It is pretty exciting to be re-elected,” Pittenger said. “It was close, but that means everybody had their say.”

Pittenger said the next term will have her looking for ways to continue making the city auditor’s office more efficient.

“I’m hoping to fine-tune what we are doing and make it run even smoother,” she said.

Pittenger said she plans to aid the Belpre Volunteer Fire Department in finding grants and more funding through the office.

“I think my office can help them help the city,” she said.

Although all seven city council seats were filled this election, the council-at-large seats were the only ones with competition as four residents vied for three positions.

Incumbents Republican Susan Abdella and Democrat John Newberry will be joined by Republican Donna Miller, who believes her two-year term on council in 1976 as well as her previous four-year term on the Belpre City Schools district Board of Education helped her this time around.

“I think my history gave me some votes,” said Miller, who received 494 votes, 28 percent, which was the largest number of the three winners. “It gives me a warm feeling, the confidence that people showed in voting for me.

“I will do everything I can to do what is best for the people and make sure their voice is heard,” she said.

Abdella received 433 votes, or 25 percent, and looks forward to working with Miller during her eighth term.

“I’m excited and I think we can get a lot done working together,” she said.

One thing Abdella said she hopes to do is improve the city’s infrastructure.

“We did a lot with the Ameresco project, but that was a while ago and it’s almost paid off, so I think we need to set a five-year plan to work on streets, water lines and other issues to make the city better.”

This was the first election win for Newberry, who was appointed to council by the Washington County Democratic Party Central Committee in March 2012 after longtime councilman John Baker stepped down.

“I’m grateful for everybody who came out to vote and will continue to attend meetings like I have been,” said Newberry, who had 461 votes, or 26 percent.

Newberry said he hopes to help the city build on what it has.

“Belpre has been able to grow in these challenging times,” he said. “I am pleased we are able to make progress and stay within budget.”