PINE TOWNSHIP – The races for the Pine Township Tax Collector and Supervisor are both contested in the May 18 primary election.
Incumbent Jeanine L. Thompson faces Paula Renninger for the supervisor position, which is a six-year term and one of three members of the supervisory board.
Elizabeth “Beth” Mattocks and Crystal Ensminger are vying for the tax collector, which represents a four-year position. The current tax collector, Carrie Steese, is retiring.
All four women are on the Republican ballot. No Democratic candidate has filed a nomination petition for another race.
In the race for the supervisor position, Thompson has worked as a township treasurer and secretary for 13 years, and has also served as a supervisor for the past six years.
Previously, she worked for 10 years for the Grove City Public Works and Utilities Department and was a Real Estate Agent for Harshaw’s Real Estate for 10 years.
As the township secretary and treasurer, Thompson handles utility bills, payroll, accounts payable and receivable, and all bank accounts, and she deals with the public.
She believes that all of this has given her invaluable experience and a full understanding of how municipal governments work.
The town is audited four times a year, and the results are flawless, she said.
She maintains a good working relationship with township employees and works closely with Pine Township Engine Company. She is based at the town hall, which allows her to see things unfold in real time.
âIt helps me make decisions more accurately,â said Thompson.
She addressed the issue of the landfill that Tri-County Industries Inc. wants to reopen on its property in the townships of Pine and Liberty.
She attended public and private meetings and in 2017 voted against their land use plan. In 2018, she voted to deny the review, and she voted to appeal in 2020.
Thompson is a member of Grace United Methodist Church and a graduate of Grove City High School and Penn State University.
She has lived in Grove City or Pine Township her entire life, and her husband Doug worked at Montgomery Truss and Panel for 36 years.
She has two sons, Michael and Ryan Richards, and a granddaughter, Alexis Richards; they all live in Grove City.
“I really care about the community we all live in. If I am re-elected, I will continue to work hard to improve our township,” she said.
Renninger is originally from Monroeville and has lived in Pine Township since 1990.
It is the first time that she is standing for election. She had thought about it before, but now was not a good time.
âIt’s something I’ve always wanted to do and have always enjoyed serving my community,â said Renninger.
If elected, she would like to help attract businesses with well-paying jobs, and she wants to be able to hear concerns and praise from residents.
She owns her own business and works as a health and wellness coach. She has worked in this field for 20 years and enjoys helping people achieve their health goals.
Renninger sees himself as an active member of the community who learns about issues like landfill. Supervisors must be a watchdog to protect residents, she added.
As a supervisor, she would be willing to do whatever work is needed to improve the township. Six years would be a good amount of time to devote to this task, she said.
She has seen division and hostility on both ends of the political spectrum, and she just wants people to know the facts. This would include improving communications between the township and its residents.
An active social media presence could help the township become more transparent and could provide information on garbage collection and meeting dates.
âIt shouldn’t be research,â she said of researching certain pieces of information.
She enjoys living and working in the area thanks to the support of the community. Her first husband, Jon Gruber, died of a rare and aggressive form of cancer, and the community took good care of them, she said.
Renninger, now married to David, has three grown children, two of whom serve in the military.
In the race for the tax collector, Mattocks is from Grove City and graduated from Grove City High School and West Virginia Wesleyan College, where she earned a basketball scholarship and earned a degree in elementary education and psychology. .
She and her husband have two sons: Caden is studying Security Management at Slippery Rock University and Colton is in his second year at GCHS.
She has worked part-time for Pine Township since 2011, when she was hired to renovate and manage the community center and other properties in the township.
Mattocks has invested in the revitalization of the Pine Township center and social hall, securing grants, working with contractors, creating and budgeting, completing projects and meeting deadlines.
It also manages the centre’s budget, in collaboration with the canton’s annual expenditure plan. It’s a challenge, but it’s also a pleasure, she said.
Serving as a tax collector would create a more cohesive relationship between the municipality and the tax office.
Mattocks said she already has an established relationship with township residents and will have regular office hours and a deposit box for payments.
She would like to set up a website to pay bills, access forms and keep abreast of new tax laws.
Ensminger was born and raised in Pine Township, where she grew up on a dairy farm. She graduated from Grove City High School in 2004 and has an animal science degree with a minor in equine science from Penn State University.
She and her husband Josh have two children, Harper, 6, and Landen, 1.5.
This is Ensminger’s first candidacy, and she has held several jobs that she says have given her a good financial education.
She was Regional Manager for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and handled sales and finance for Elder Sales and Service in Stoneboro and Clarion.
She worked for Diversified Family Services in Hermitage as a supervisor and member of the behavioral support staff, looking after finances and benefits and helping clients in their life situations.
Ensminger worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a program technician until last August, when she decided to stay home to help with classes at her daughter’s virtual school and for her take care of his son.
If elected, she would have a home office with flexible hours and still have the chance to get involved in the community while putting her family first.
And, like Mattocks, she would like to set up online bill payment.
She noticed that more and more people are interested in politics, especially in local elections. She would like to do her part to keep the township a good place to live and raise a family.
âI really think I have a passion for the Grove City area,â she said.
Ensminger and his family attend New Life Baptist Church in New Wilmington. Harper recently joined 4-H, and the family features quarter horses across the northeast.
FOR MORE information on the May 18 primary election in Mercer County, visit www.mcc.co.mercer.pa.us/election