Two candidates seek Follansbee mayor’s seat

FOLLANSBEE – Follansbee voters will be asked to choose from two candidates for mayor in the city’s June 11 general election.

They are challenger Ben Arthurs of 814 Gilbert Ave. and incumbent David Velegol Jr. of 400 Heathermoor Drive.

A graduate of Brooke High School, Arthurs is a senior at Wheeling Jesuit University, where he is majoring in psychology. During the last four summers, he has worked through AmeriCorps as a mentor for the Energy Express summer reading program overseen by the West Virginia University Extension Service.

He said if elected, he would like to bring back to the city public transportation to help residents who can’t afford a car or are unable to drive for medical reasons, clean up all abandoned properties and renovate the city’s parks and other recreational areas.

“As for the abandoned properties in town, they are becoming an eyesore. If Follansbee wants to bring in new businesses, we need to take action and clean up these abandoned properties, and make this town a more appealing place to live in, and to own a business in,” he said.

Arthurs said, “Follansbee, in the last couple of years, has been a town that has slipped from its glory, to a town of despair. This city has lost more and more over the years.”

“As mayor, I will bring this town back to its former glory. I will bring new business back to town. I will work tirelessly to meet the needs of every individual of every neighborhood. I will be a public figure that will be there for the people of this town, whenever they call on me,” he said.

Also a graduate of Brooke High School, Velegol earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from West Virginia University, master’s degree in business administration from Robert Morris University and a law degree from Duquesne University.

Elected mayor in 2011, he served previously as the city’s municipal judge for 10 years and on its sewer board and the Follansbee Community Days Committee, both for five years.

He is a senior vice president for Chester Engineers of Pittsburgh, where he has been employed for 26 years.

“As a senior vice president, I am responsible for our division’s annual budgets and individual project budgets and I believe this experience directly translates in maintaining fiscal responsibility for Follansbee,” Velegol said.

“I am also responsible for business development, I have developed significant relationships in the shale gas industry, and I am constantly looking for opportunities for Follansbee,” he said.

Velegol said if re-elected, he will work with council, the city administration and Mayor Emeritus Anthony Paesano “to properly develop our available property for future businesses and recreation, develop a budget to include street paving and park restoration and continue to develop a great atmosphere for our citizens and employees.”

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