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WEST CHESTER — Jordan Norley, president of Borough Council, appeared to have retained his seat by fighting off a primary challenge for the Democratic nomination, while Vice President Stephen Shinn was instead defeated by his opponent.
With voting in Ward 4 completed, Norley tallied 51 votes to challenger Sue Bayne’s 27, appearing to give him a 63 percent win for stay in the council.
“My supporters clearly came out and made the victory possible,” Norley said. “I appreciate both them as well as everyone who came to vote.”
For race in Ward 6, former council member Jim Jones appears to have reclaimed a seat with 69 votes to Shinn’s 66. With the razor-close tally, there will almost certainly be a recount.
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“I saw people show up who clearly were going to vote for my opponent and I wasn’t sure what the count was going to be by the time the day was over,” Jones said. “I was real pleased to see how it turned out. It was close on the Democratic side.”
However, Jones believes he has won the Republican nomination as well, citing write-in votes he believes are his.
“I’m pretty sure I won on that side,” he said. “I talked to a lot of people ahead of time and they assured they were going to vote for me and clearly they did.”
In the campaign that pitted current against former council members, Norley made sure to stress to voters that he had never once voted to raise taxes and, “championed and was the deciding vote against a 50 percent increase in the borough’s earned income tax rate,” unlike that of his opponent Bayne, who, he said, voted to raise taxes five times when she was on the council before.
He felt he deserved another term on the Borough Council due to a number of reasons, including starting a standing committee to return rail service to the borough, putting up ‘quiet zone’ signs to remind residents of the noise ordinance and adding quality of life issues to the Public Safety Committee.
Bayne, on the other hand, who served eight years on the council before stepping down because of the council’s term limits, said she believes Norley, who succeeded her, has not done a quality job of communicating with the residents of the fourth ward and is appearing to be more “interested in making political alliances than in representing the interests” of the ward and community.
She headed into the primary election saying she would reopen a line of communication with the residents and businesses of the area and to bring veteran experience back on the council, which she felt has been lost over the years with many senior borough management and staff leaving.
In Ward 6, Shinn said he felt he was better suited for the position, citing his endorsement by Mayor Carolyn Comitta and the West Chester Borough Democrats as evidence. he could not be reached after the polls closed.
Shinn, along with Norley, boasted the lack of a tax increase during his tenure and said he would continue to be “a fiscal watchdog and ensure no one gets taxed out of their homes.” He also felt that there needed to be an increase in the walkability of the borough.
Jones, the other former council member looking to make a return, knows Shinn from running four year prior, but said that most residents in the sixth ward claim they had no idea who he was or have never seen the current council member. Jones will instead make sure, he says, “that the residents of our ward know who I am (and) can easily contact me.”
For him, parking has become the main issue of concern as the borough continues to grow in both population and popularity. He originally compiled a list of every parking space in the borough during his time on the council, which has been used by borough officials. He wants to take it to the next level to identify the demand for parking.
In Ward 2, Diane Lebold, another former council member, ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
All results are unofficial until certified.