COVERT — Two candidates who have been involved with Covert Township governance for more than a dozen years, will be competing for the supervisor’s seat.
Former township trustee and Republican Tom DeRosa hopes to defeat incumbent supervisor and Democrat Dennis Palgen in the Nov. 3 general election.
Both men have a considerable amount of experience in township government.
Palgen has served as township supervisor for the past four years. Prior to that he held the clerk’s position for 16 years.
DeRosa spent four years as a township board trustee and has served on the planning commission for 12 years and the zoning board of appeals for 8 years.
This year’s township election could prove to be a pivotal one for Covert, which is inching closer and closer to the closure of the Palisades Nuclear Plant – the municipality’s largest taxpayer – in May 2022.
Both candidates pointed out that the plant’s closure is by far the biggest issue facing the township over the next several years.
“We are and will continue to experience a loss of revenue due to the closure of Entergy/Palisades in the spring of 2022,” Palgen said. “With that said, several meetings have taken place, starting in 2019, with our treasurer Wednesday Pritchard and others. I am proud to report that even with these losses, the township board approved a balanced 2020-21 budget. In addition, we signed an agreement with Plante/Moran (accounting and business advisory firm) to assist the township in a five-year financial forecast, taking into consideration revenue shortfalls.”
DeRosa also is looking toward Covert’s financial future and thinks the encouragement of private enterprise is crucial.
“My chief desire in running for township supervisor is to assist the township in encouraging new business growth,” he said. “With the budgetary constraints presented by the loss of revenue from the future decommissioning of the Palisades plant, and the ongoing legal issues with New Covert Generating, it is more important than ever to begin the process of bringing new businesses to the township to not only grow, but thrive.”
Other information about the supervisor candidates follows:
DeRosa, along with his wife, has owned the Covert/South Haven KOA campground for the past 14 years.
He said he is running for township supervisor to continue serving the community.
“Since my return to Covert, I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve this community in a variety of ways,” he said. “During my time as a trustee, I had the pleasure to lead the project to build the fire and police complex, allowing me to utilize my extensive background in construction and engineering.”
Palgen said he is running for re-election to “continue to serve the people, utilizing my 20 years as township clerk and supervisor in providing individualized attention, as well as needed resources in meeting their needs, concerns and expectations.”
In addition to the pending closure of Palisades, Palgen said other important issues face the township.
“We have applied for a grant/loan from the USDA to help fund needed wastewater system upgrades,” he said. He also said that as financial uncertainties confront the township, it will be important for the township board and planning commission to continue to work together as a team.
After losing to challenger Barbara Rose in the August Primary, Covert Township Treasurer Wednesday Pritchard plans to run against Rose as a write-in candidate in the Nov. 3 general election.
“Due to an overwhelming reaction from townspeople, I have decided to run as a write-in candidate in hopes of retaining my current position,” Pritchard
Pritchard has been serving as treasurer for the past year after the township board appointed her to the position when long-time Treasurer Marilyn Rendell retired. Before that, she served as deputy treasurer for 2 1/2 years.
Rose previously served as township supervisor from 2008-2016.
Rose defeated Pritchard, 180-143, in the August primary.
Rose said she is running for treasurer to help the township get through the financial difficulties that are expected to occur with the pending closure of Palisades.
“As a member of the board ,there is a need to accurately identify future township needs and prioritize budget support,” Rose said. “The township must deal with the shortfalls and not kick problems down the road by continuing to spend. More of our residents need to be included in the local and county government processes to generate new ideas.”
Pritchard said the township has been preparing for the closure of the nuclear plant.
“I have already been working diligently with the budget alongside township Supervisor Palgen. Not only were we able to make the projected cuts for this year, we were also able to cover a large deficit from last year’s budget, all without having to make any drastic changes to our current operations or staffing. ... This sort of fine-tooth combing of the budget will continue if I am re-elected. I would like to explore more lucrative – yet safe – options for our investments as well.”