CANDIDATE: Robert Jobe Jr.
Robert Jobe Jr. is a retired lineman for Southwest Central Rural Electric and a former union steward of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers who is completing his first four-year term on council. In the spring he won a Republican nomination for re-election.
“I think I’ve done some good” on council the past four years, Jobe said. “I would like to see we keep the taxes down in the borough. There are a lot of people in the borough on fixed incomes. They live from payday to payday, or from pension check to pension check. There are a lot of people really hurting. They can’t afford to have high taxes.”
Jobe is assigned to council’s Public Safety Committee and sometimes attends other committee meetings and as many as four council sessions a month.
“You like to know what’s going on in the other committees,” he said.
In his first election campaign in 2009, Jobe said he was running for council because he felt the borough needed to be more conservative in its spending.
“I think they’re watching it a little better,” he said recently. “I think things are going pretty good” generally in the borough.
Jobe was one of eight council members who voted in July to repeal the borough’s traditional neighborhood development overlay zone ordinance. It was created to encourage developers to build high-density student housing complexes near the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus, but some opposition to it arose because it allowed high-density structures to be built in some R-2 residential zones.
The TND overlay ordinance is being evaluated and some parts of it may be incorporated into the borough’s zoning ordinance.
“Stopping this until they get it straightened out” was one of council’s achievements during his first term in office, Jobe said.
He sympathizes with residents whose homes have become surrounded by student rental properties. The residents’ homes, by ordinance, cannot be converted into student rentals too, and the owners can’t find buyers who would want to move a family into them.
Jobe said he feels those surrounded property owners should be given the same opportunity to sell their homes as were owners who sold homes to make room for high-density student housing projects.
Jobe said other concerns among his constituents are taxes and the disruptions caused by IUP Homecoming celebrations. After previous homecoming weekends he had a few beer cans to pick up around his Blairton Avenue home.
“This year it was bad,” he said, but adds, “It’s not the whole university that’s giving you problems. … Without the university, we’re dead.”
He also supports efforts to keep the Indiana Free Library in the borough-owned Community Center Building.
“I think it should be here,” Jobe said. “We need the library. There are a lot of kids who cannot afford computers” and can use those available at the library.
And Jobe is satisfied with a 12-member council.
“I don’t think they should shrink it,” he said.